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12th Apr 2024

UK slams EU's 'bad faith' on Brexit transition

  • Davis (l) complained the EU position paper 'was hardly a legal document, it was a political document' (Photo: European Commission)

The UK Brexit minister slammed the EU on Thursday (8 February) as "discourteous" and having "bad faith" after the publication of some of its positions on the transition period that will follow the UK's exit from the EU in 2019-2020.

"I do not think it was in good faith to publish a document with frankly discourteous language," Brexit secretary David Davis told reporters in London.

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He said that the text implied that the EU could "arbitrarily terminate" the transition, which the UK government calls an "implementation period".

"We think it was unwise to publish that," he added.

The document published by the European Commission on Wednesday lays out the EU executive proposals on the UK's rights and obligation during the period - which will start when the withdrawal agreement enter into force in March 2019, and will finish on 31 December 2020.

During that time, the UK will not be an EU member anymore, and will therefore not be represented in EU institutions, but it will still have to abide to EU laws and stay under the jurisdiction of the EU Court of Justice.



In a footnote, the commission also says that the withdrawal agreement "should provide for a mechanism allowing the Union to suspend certain benefits deriving for the United Kingdom from participation in the internal market where it considers that referring the matter to the Court of Justice of the European Union would not bring in appropriate time the necessary remedies."

"I have to say I thought that document was hardly a legal document, it was a political document," Davis said on Thursday.

Davis made his comments after the UK government to try to define its position on the post-Brexit UK-EU relationship, and as negotiations were under way in Brussels over the UK exit - including the issue of the Irish border - and the transition.

EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier will give a press conference on Friday over the result of the round of talks.

Northern Ireland to remain in Single Market?

According to the Guardian, the EU has told the UK that Northern Ireland would remain in the EU single market after Brexit and after the transition period to avoid a 'hard border' with the Republic of Ireland.

Under the withdrawal agreement, Northern Ireland would leave the single market only if provisions of a future trade or technical solutions provide guarantees that there will be no 'hard border'.

Meanwhile, prime minister Theresa May has still not announced the government's position for the future relationship.

May has been trying to reconcile views in her cabinet between Brexit hardliners and minister who are more concerned about the long-term impact of Brexit.

Davis said that the atmosphere of the two-day meeting in the prime minister's official countryside residence in Chequers was "very constructive" but that "there's still progress to be made, there are still things incomplete."

Analysis

The next hurdles in Brexit talks

As EU-27 came up with its positions for the transition period, and there are plenty of political landmines left for the talks. Here is a look at what could upset the Brexit negotiations.

UK seeks flexible transition length after Brexit

Britain wants to negotiate with Brussels the end date of the Brexit transition period - without saying what their preferred end date would be. The UK's position paper disagrees with the EU on other key points too.

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