NATIONAL: UK can change mind on single market until 2021, EU chief says

CHIEF EU negotiator Michel Barnier has said the UK can reverse its position on leaving the single market and customs union up until the end of the Brexit transition period.

Thursday, 12th April 2018, 8:47 am
Updated Thursday, 12th April 2018, 8:56 am
Michael Barnier. Credit: Flickr

The EU official gave Theresa May until December 31, 2021 to change her mind on Britain exiting the pair as it withdraws from the EU, saying: ‘So long as they have not left, during the transition period, everything is still possible.’

The prime minister used a speech in March to repeat her ‘red lines’ that the UK will leave the single market and customs union as well as the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.

The UK will formally leave the EU on March 29, 2019 – two years after the invocation of Article 50.

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The 21-month transition period is due to end on December 31 the following year, coinciding with the end of the EU’s seven-year budget.

Speaking to European reporters, Mr Barnier said: ‘If the British wish to modify their red lines, we will modify ours in consequence.

‘I am not hearing that today but everything is possible, there is no dogmatism.’

He added: ‘What creates the problem in Ireland, is the decision of the United Kingdom to leave the EU but also to leave what it is not obligatory to leave, that’s to say the single market and the customs union.’