The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has written to opposition parties telling them that the EU is open to a two-year delay over the Brexit transition period.
The British Prime Minister has consistently ruled out any extension of the transition period, and will continue to this coming to an end on the 31 December.
In the letter, the Head of European Task Force Barnier wrote, “Dear Honourable and Right Honourable Members of Parliament. Thank you for your letter of 15 May 2020.
“I remain keen on and interested in hearing the views of the British political parties and stakeholders in order to appreciate all dimensions of the national debate.
“The European Union remains determined to build a new and ambitious partnership with the United Kingdom in the short time that is available, given your Government’s repeated statements that it will not agree to an extension of the transition period.
“I take note on your views of a possible extension to the transition period.
“Such an extension of up to one or two years can be agreed jointly by the two parties.
“The European Union has always said that we remain open on this matter.”
Barnier said their decisions must be taken “by the Joint Committee before 1 July, and must be accompanied by an agreement on a financial contribution by the UK.”
He added, “Regardless of the extension issue, please rest assured that the EU side will continue to do its utmost to reach an ambition and balance partnership agreement with the UK.
“Any extension has to be taken by the Joint Committee before 1 July and must be accompanied by an agreement on a financial contribution by the United Kingdom.
“Regardless of the extension issue, please rest assured that the EU side will continue to do its utmost to reach an ambitious and balanced partnership agreement with the United Kingdom.”