EC agrees Brexit transition period lasting to end of 2020

21 December, 2017, 01:29 | Author: Kim Reid
  • Theresa May has gathered her Brexit'war Cabinet to hammer out a vision of what'end state they want to achieve

Britain officially leaves the EU at midnight on March 29, 2019, but negotiator Michel Barnier said its European partners would accept a transition period to help prepare for Brexit that should only last until the end of 2020.

City of London policy chairman Catherine McGuinness called the proposals a "welcome bit of news to end the year for the City", with European Union banks playing a significant part in Britain's success in the industry.

The PM also said she still sees a post-Brexit transition period lasting "around two years", potentially putting her at odds with the European Commission, which has agreed it should finish at the end of 2020.

Britain will need a transition after Brexit that will avoid businesses having to adjust to new rules and regulations twice.

The EU's current seven-year budget period winds up on December 31, 2020, making it financially simpler to disentangle Britain's debts and benefits, but leaving the transition period three months short of the two-year window that British Prime Minister Theresa May's government was seeking.

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By allowing branches of EU banks in London to be supervised by their home regulator, Britain will be hoping the bloc would in return allow euro clearing to remain in Britain.The UK gesture could also soften European Commission plans, due to be published later on Wednesday, to stiffen the conditions for allowing investment banks from outside the EU to operate inside the bloc.

The EU has said it wants to have a free trade deal with Britain ready to go at the start of 2021, as soon as the transition ends.

Management consultancy Boston Consulting Group has estimated that European Union banks would have to find up to 40 billion euros if all their branches in Britain were turned into subsidiaries.

This is slightly shorter than the 2-year transition that was thrown in the air.

But May faces difficulties merely getting Brexit through parliament, after suffering a humiliating defeat last week by pro-European members of her own Conservative party, who voted to ensure parliament has the final say on any divorce deal with Brussels.

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International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde said in London on Wednesday that Britain's economy was "losing out" as a result of last year's vote to leave the European Union, but that any post-Brexit trade deal could help ease the pain.

If foreign banks began leaving, the City's fabric would begin to unravel, industry officials have said.

Mrs May responded to that point at PMQs today, saying: "We are not going to exclude Gibraltar from our negotiations from either the implementation period or the future agreement".

The guidelines state that the United Kingdom should continue to follow EU trade laws and stay in the European customs union and single market during the transition phase.

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