EU endorses Brexit transition period negotiation guidelines

The EU General Affairs Council has adopted its negotiation guidelines for a Brexit transition period, proposing it runs March 2019 to 31 December 2020.

David Davis | Photo credit: Press Association

By Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at the Parliament Magazine

29 Jan 2018

Speaking on Friday, the UK’s chief Brexit negotiator David Davis said UK negotiators were exploring “a way of resolving concerns if laws [changed by the EU during the transition period] are deemed to run contrary to our interests.”

He said, “We will agree an appropriate process for this temporary period so that we have the means to remedy any issues, through dialogue, as soon as possible. It’s very, very important. If there are new laws that affect us, we have the means to resolve any issues during that period.”

Davis also pointed out that in any case “It usually takes around two full years for major legislation to make its way through the EU system into law.”


In the same speech, he moved to reassure Britons living in Europe that their rights will be protected when the UK exits the EU in 2019.

This comes after some MEPs last week spoke of the great uncertainty still facing tens of thousands of British nationals who live and work on mainland Europe.

In a speech, David said he wanted to “give confidence to more than four million citizens across our continent that their rights would be protected.”

The rights of EU citizens in the UK - and Britons on the continent - is one of three red lines the EU insists must be met before talks can proceed.

Davis also spelled out why he thinks a transitional period can be “a bridge to the future” for the UK.

He said, “Without a bridge to the future - that is exactly what they would have to do.

“We would see delayed investment, slowing job creation and a stifling of hard-won economic growth upon which our continent depends.

“It should come as no surprise, therefore, that similar arguments for this bridge, this implementation period, have been deployed by both sides.”

He said, “First - it will allow the UK time to build new infrastructure, and set up new systems, to support our future partnership and allow for as free and frictionless trade as possible. It will ensure our businesses are ready, and only have to adjust to one set of changes.

“Second - it will allow European governments to do the same. Ports like Teesport, like Rotterdam, like Antwerp, will need time to prepare for our new customs arrangements.”


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