British Prime Minister Theresa May called for a two-year transition period after her country officially leaves the European Union. The transition period would mean that Britain would largely keep its current ties with Brussels. Mrs. May added that the transition period would enable EU citizens to continue working in Britain under current conditions.
For both Britain and the EU, “access to one another’s markets should continue on current terms” during this period, she said. However, the proposal regarding the existing immigration and trading rules that will continue for two years after Britain leaves the EU in March immediately sparked condemnation from the eurosceptics. “Theresa May’s Brexit vision is that we leave the EU in name only. All areas of integration we have currently will be rebadged,” said leading pro-Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage.
The move is considered a charm tactic to unlock stalled talks between both sides. Theresa May also promised to keep Britain’s budget commitments until 2020 and outlined some major legal guarantees for the rights of approximately three million Europeans living in the UK. She also reinforced her commitment to Europe’s security, saying to EU leaders: “We want to be your strongest friend and partner as the EU and UK thrive side by side.” Britain’s contributions for two years would be at least 20 billion euros although this is far less than European estimates of Britain’s total Brexit bill.
A fourth round of negotiations with the European Commission is starting this week, with London eager to make some strides on the terms of the divorce so that talks can move on to trade. “While the UK’s departure from the EU is inevitably a difficult process, it is in all of our interests for our negotiations to succeed,”Mrs. May said.