Agreement should be reached on Brexit transition period in early 2018 – Hayes
Transitional measures may have to be signed off by 38 EU national parliaments
Brian Hayes MEP today said that, as part of the Brexit negotiations, transitional measures should be agreed by the first quarter of 2018 to give EU companies that trade with the UK certainty.
“There needs to be an early agreement on transitional arrangements in the Brexit negotiations. All Irish companies that trade with the UK need to know what will happen with their UK trading operations after March 2019, when the Brexit negotiations will complete.
“We cannot have a situation where the transition period would be agreed in last minute Brexit negotiations. This would be absolute chaos for all EU businesses that trade with the UK. And given the nature of negotiations so far, there could easily be a Mexican stand off on this issue if it is left until the bitter end.
“It could be the case that a transition period needs to be agreed by all 38 EU national parliaments, as was the case with the EU-Canada trade deal. The German Bundestag has conducted research which shows that if the conditions of the transitional arrangements go into areas which are national, rather than EU matters, then it would have to be signed off by all EU national parliaments, including upper and lower houses.
“Theresa May, in her speech in Florence said that she wants a transitional period of two years. It is welcome that the UK government has recognised the real need for a transition period. May’s speech showed some level of movement but there needs to be much more progress. However, the European Parliament in its resolution on Brexit called for a transition period of three years. We should respect this call for a three year transition period as a minimum to allow businesses to adapt to the post-Brexit regime.
“At the same time, the UK side need to work hard on making proper progress on the divorce proceedings, particularly on the ultimate Brexit bill and the rights of EU citizens in the UK.
“Under a transition period, the current status quo should apply where the UK is still part of the single market and is still within the customs union. A transition period gives all EU companies the time needed to understand the post-Brexit system of trade and to adapt their operations accordingly. With no transition period agreed in advance, there is effectively a cliff edge which would be a disaster for Ireland.
“As we know, a huge number of Irish businesses, particularly in the agri-food and financial services industry, will be affected by any new trading terms with the UK. We need to see on both sides that there is a willingness to make the Brexit process as painless as possible for companies.
“The issue of a transition period needs to be resolved swiftly and really should be done by the first quarter of 2018 if we are to have an orderly Brexit.”