The European Union has started mapping out its post-Brexit trade relations with the United Kingdom to prepare for a potential failure in the upcoming December talks. This move comes with the aim to encourage London to improve its divorce offer. “We will prepare our thinking on the transition, the future relationship,” an EU official involved in the talks commented. These changes come after EU president Donald Tusk said that he would reconsider their Brexit strategy if the UK fails to make a progress on setting Britain’s bill of negotiations by the end of this year.
The EU would like to see more assurances on expatriate rights and the post-Brexit Irish border before it kick-starts a second round of talks on the transition period and future deal arrangements. Britain’s chief Brexit negotiator David Davis said that the British government would like to have a good idea of a post-Brexit deal by March next year. Both Brussels and London expect a transition period of two years, which would include the status quo on the UK being subject to EU laws and courts during that time, EU’s chief negotiator Michel Bernier said.
Mr. Bernier also suggested that the transition period could run for 21 months from the point Brexit enters into force until the end of the current EU budget at the end of 2020. Mr. Barnier has also pointed out that the chief difference between full EU membership and the transition period would be that “the British would no longer take part in decisions on European legislation”. Businesses in Britain and Europe are concerned about the slow progress in divorce talks and the lack of clarity about the future trade agreement between the EU and Britain. Some companies have already started moving their staff and operations from Britain to the bloc to hedge their bets.