The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has penned a letter to opposition parties explaining the bloc is open to delaying the transition period by two years. The UK has until the start of July to request an extension to the Brexit transition period which currently comes to an end on December 31 2020. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has repeatedly ruled out extending the transition period – as Brexit trade talks continue via video next week.
In the letter, the Head of European Task Force, Mr Barnier, thanks SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford, and leaders of opposition parties for their letter.
He says he is “determined to build a new and ambitious partnership with the United Kingdom” in the “short time available” given Mr Johnson’s “repeated statements that it will not agree to an extension of the transition period”.
The letter adds: “I take note of your views on a possible extension of the transition period.
“Such as an extension of up to one or two years can be agreed jointly by the two parties.
“The European Union has always said we remain open to this matter”.
But, Mr Barnier notes the decision must be taken “by the Joint Committee before 1 July, and must be accompanied by an agreement on a financial contribution by the UK”.
He added: “Regardless of the extension issue, please rest assured that the EU side will continue to do its utmost to reach an ambition and balance partnership agreement with the UK”.
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