UK's May proposes 2-year transition period after Brexit

Lawrence Kim
September 25, 2017

"Six months after the triggering of (the European Union divorce process), it appears that the position of the United Kingdom is becoming more realistic", Verhofstadt said.

Almost 600 years after the Council of Florence met to reunite the Latin and Greek churches, Mrs May will hope to heal rifts which seem to have deepened over the summer.

In a sign of unity, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond and Brexit Secretary David Davis attended Friday's speech.

Home to works of art by notable Renaissance artists including Botticelli and Masaccio, Santa Maria Novella was also home to one of the earliest attacks on Galileo, accused of heresy in 1614 for claiming the earth moves around the sun.

There's a lot of fanfare about Theresa May's big Brexit speech today.

Over the course of her 35-minute speech, the British PM stated that neither the UK Government nor the European Union would be ready to fully implement new arrangements for Brexit on 29 March 2019, when the UK is scheduled to formally leave, stating that "As of today (22 September), these considerations point to an implementation period of around two years".

But he said: "Before we move forward, we wish to clarify the issue of the regulation of European citizens, the financial terms of the exit and the question of Ireland".

May's office released excerpts from a speech she will deliver Friday in Florence, Italy, emphasizing that both sides share "a profound sense of responsibility" to ensure that Brexit goes "smoothly and sensibly".

Barnier has said before that he would not agree to a transitional deal until first agreeing the terms of the UK's exit.

The EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier warned Thursday that "major uncertainty" remained on Britain's position on its three priorities - citizens' rights, money and the Irish border. European Union officials have said that British payments to the European Union during a post-Brexit transition - its current annual payments are about 10 billion euros - can not be offset against a need to settle a pre-Brexit "divorce bill".

"That's because Theresa May and her Conservative cabinet colleagues are spending more time negotiating with each other rather than with the European Union".

She said this relationship would be a bespoke arrangement - rejecting the models offered by Norway's membership of the European Economic Area, as well as Canada's free trade deal with the EU.

Brussels is also looking for progress on the future of three million EU citizens now living in Britain, with the two sides deadlocked on the role of the European Court of Justice.

Such payments to the EU have become a hot-button issue for British voters, somewhat to the frustration of EU negotiators who note that Britain's annual net contribution to the EU budget represents little more than 1 percent of its public spending.

The EU diplomat also said negotiations were dragging on the issue of the rights of EU citizens living in Britain. He said it was not a game changer, but did welcome the announcement of a transition period.

Prime Minister May confirmed that we will cease to be EU Member on 29 March, 2019.

Setting out her vision for the future economic relationship between Britain and the EU, May said Britain "will no longer be members of its single market or its customs union" - and that it does not expect to keep all the benefits of membership of the single market without its obligations.

It will convert all existing European Union laws into United Kingdom law to ensure there are no gaps in legislation on Brexit day, scheduled for March, 2019.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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