EU Official Says Brexit ‘Transition Deal’ Not Agreed, Britain and Europe Will Get ‘Poorer’

Brexit
EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty

The so-called Brexit “transition period” has not yet been fully agreed and might not even happen depending on the outcome of up-and-coming trade talks a senior adviser to Michel Barnier, the European Union’s (EU) chief Brexit negotiator, has said.

At the end of last month, it was reported that British negotiators had backed down and agreed to keep borders open to unlimited migration until 2019 to secure the transition period, with the UK effectively staying in the EU’s Single Market and Customs Union for two extra years. Brussels bureaucrats have demanded that all EU rules and laws must continue to apply during the period discussed so far.

However, Stefaan De Rynck said the period could potentially not happen during a pessimistic speech and question and answer session in London Monday, as well as arguing Brexit will make both the EU and UK poorer, The Guardian reports.

He claimed there would only be absolute “certainty” about the Brexit transition when the withdrawal agreement is finalised, probably in October 2018, adding: “I know it is very uncomfortable – stakeholders say we have contingency planning, what do we do, it’s a cost.”

He continued: “For us, I don’t think we will ever label Brexit a success. I think it’s a mutual weakening of two parties. Last Friday or Thursday the sanctions against Russia were extended by the European Council at 28.

“Post Brexit, that will be 27 plus one. It can work, but it won’t be as easy as it happens today [under a] common framework.

“Economically for us, Brexit is a lose, lose situation. So our negotiation here is not, like we had with Japan, how we create value together. It’s how do you minimise loses economically on both sides.

“Because, no matter how you turn [he may have meant ‘spin’] Brexit and what it means, it means there will be barriers that don’t exist today in terms of the UK-EU relationship, no matter how ambitious the free trade agreement could be.”

.