UK PM says open to longer post-Brexit transition
Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed Thursday that Britain would consider extending the transition period after Brexit for a few months if needed to agree a new trade deal with the EU.
EU negotiator Michel Barnier raised the idea as a way of breaking the deadlock on how to keep Britain’s border with Ireland open after Brexit, the key issue holding up the divorce talks.
But May emphasised she did not expect the extension beyond the current date of December 2020 to be needed, amid anger among eurosceptics at home that Britain could be tied to the EU indefinitely.
Arriving for a second day of summit talks in Brussels, May noted that both sides remained at odds over a “backstop” plan to avoid frontier checks in Ireland if and until a new trade deal could be signed.
“A further idea that has emerged — and it is an idea at this stage — is to create an option to extend the implementation period for a matter of months,” she said.