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Brexit negotiators have one more thing to solve within days -The XX factor

The British government asked for the possibility of that being extended in case the final trade deal isn't ready in time

Ian Wishart | Bloomberg 

An anti-Brexit protester
Photo: Reuters

As Prime Minister is gripped by political turmoil in the U.K., negotiators have some unfinished business in Brussels.

Curiously, the 107,000-word draft divorce treaty had one gap left in it when it was published this week. The maximum extension of the U.K.’s post-transition period appeared in the text as “up to 31 December 20XX.”

Officials on both sides say they have only until the planned summit of EU leaders on Nov. 25 to replace the blanks with a specific year.

The issue is divisive in the U.K. because pro-lawmakers consider the transition period leaves a “vassal state.” The U.K. will stick to EU rules as if it were still a member but loses any say in decision-making.

Initially, the plan was for the transition to last from the moment the U.K. leaves the EU on March 29, 2019 until Dec. 31, 2020. But the British government asked for the possibility of that being extended in case the final trade deal isn’t ready in time.

The draft deal allows for one extension of the transition period beyond 2020 as long as it’s agreed by both the U.K. and EU and decided on before July that year. There’s no agreement on the maximum length yet.

First Published: Sat, November 17 2018. 15:37 IST
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