The coronavirus crisis is unlikely to affect the UK’s full exit from the EU by the end of this year, according to George Eustice. Leading the Government’s daily briefing, the Environment Secretary was confronted with a question from the public about the exit process. Alex from Felixstowe asked if Brexit was going to be put on hold amid the coronavirus lockdown.
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Mr Eustice replied: “We’re still going ahead with it.
“Brexit, in fact, is something that has already happened.
“We left the European Union at the end of January.
“We have a transition period that ends at the end of this year.”
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Environment Secretary George Eustice
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He continued: “We will still be ending that transition period on time as planned.
“We are still doing whatever planning is necessary to ensure that after that transition period, we can trade normally and function normally as a country.”
The deadline for a trade deal to be negotiated is the end of December this year.
An extension to the transition period must be requested by end of June.
“We will still be ending that transition period on time as planned.”
The UK is currently in an 11-month transition period after officially leaving the EU at the end of January.
Although the UK has ceased to be an EU member, Britain still has to continue to follow its rules and contribute to its budget – during the transition.
Britain’s chief negotiator David Frost and EU counterpart Michel Barnier have resumed discussions by video call as they race to strike an agreement before the deadline.
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Mr Barnier has accused the UK of dragging its feet over post-Brexit negotiations, at the end of the second round of talks on the future relationship.
He said: “We cannot accept to make selective progress, on a limited set of issues only.
“We need to make progress on all issues in parallel. We need to find solutions on the most difficult topics.
“The UK cannot refuse to extend the transition, and at the same time slow down discussions on important areas,”
Talks aimed at striking a post-Brexit deal between the UK and the US will start today after being delayed for weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic.