senior EU officials believe the most likely outcome will involve any withdrawal agreement stipulating 31 December 2020 as the date when the country leaves the bloc’s legal structures.
No decisions have been made and the EU’s 27 remaining member states are yet to formally discuss the terms of a transition period, something they only agreed to do at the end of the last European council summit on Friday.
Earlier this week the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, also appeared to suggest that such a schedule would suit the bloc. He told a group of European newspapers: “To my mind, it makes sense that it covers the financial period, so until 2020.”
Such a timetable would coincide with the end of the EU’s seven-year budget in December 2020. The EU is also likely to insist that the UK remain in the common fisheries policy, whose quotas apply to the calendar year – making a December 2020 end to the transition a practical solution, one source said.
Most of the terms of a transition period are not expected to be disputed. But the EU is expecting the British government to argue against the bloc’s condition that access to the single market must be reciprocated by allowing European fishermen to have continued access to British waters. [...]
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