The European Union has announced that the Brexit transition period after the UK leaves the EU, during which Britain must continue to obey EU rules, must finish at the end of 2020.
EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said on Wednesday the EU’s rules will still apply to Britain during the transition and London would have to live by all the key EU principles.
“There will be no transition a la carte. All the rules and policies of the EU must continue to be applied,” Barnier told reporters in Brussels.
The chief Brexit negotiator added that the “logical end” of the transition gives Britain enough time to adapt to its situation outside the bloc.
May also reaffirmed that the UK still plans to leave the EU on the 29th of March 2019. “The bill that is going through though does not determine that the UK leaves the EU, that’s part of the Article 50 process and it’s a matter of international law,” she said on Wednesday.
Earlier, British Prime Minister Theresa May had asked EU countries to agree to a two-year Brexit transition, three months longer than the new deadline.
May signed the divorce deal with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on December eight after months of negotiations. The deal covers Britain’s exit bill, the future of the Irish border and the rights of EU expatriates in the UK.
Negotiations on the transition period will resume in January.
Meanwhile, the government argues that the changes could endanger the chances of delivering a smooth departure from the EU, noting however that the “minor setback” would not prevent the UK leaving the EU in 2019.