Prime Minister Theresa May said on Friday that a Brexit transition period will be agreed with the European Union in the next seven weeks as she tries to ease concerns that a deal could take longer to reach.
“In seven weeks time, we will have an agreement with the European Union, that is the timetable they have said on an implementation period,” May told the BBC in an interview.
She, in a separate interview, tried to dispel the reports that Britain may remain in a customs union with the EU after Brexit.
“We are leaving the Customs Union. Then we are going to negotiate a free-trade agreement with the EU,” she said to Sky News.
Financial Times reported on Friday that the government is considering a deal that would keep the UK in a form of the customs union after leaving the EU. Such a deal may help to reduce the complexities of Brexit, but will make signing trade deals with other countries difficult.
Moreover, this will not bode well for the pro-Brexit advocates in her own Conservative Party who can make her position even more tenuous.
Next Round of Negotiation
The next negotiation round between Britain and the EU on the terms of divorce and the transition period that is to follow will start on Tuesday next week and will run till Friday.
Issues linked to the governance of the withdrawal agreement, the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland and the transition period will be discussed in this round, the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier said on Twitter. He will meet his opposite number, Brexit Secretary David Davis, on Monday in London, said the tweet.
On Friday, there will be a meeting in Brussels at the level of coordinators of the negotiations, in which Britain will update the EU on its request for a close future trade relationship.