12 June 2020 | UK NEWS
The UK has confirmed to the EU that it will not be seeking a further extension to the transition period. The original cut-off date for the extension had been 1st July. This announcement came amid further calls from the devolved powers for an extension.
Following a meeting with meeting of the EU Joint Committee with EU Commission Vice-President for Interinstitutional Relations Maros Sefcovic, Michael Gove tweeted:
Earlier in the day, the First Ministers of Scotland and Wales, Nicola Sturgeon and Mark Drakeford respectively, had written to the Prime Minister suggesting that an extension to the transition deal was appropriate.
During the daily Welsh Government briefing, the Welsh First Minister had said: “My letter with the First Minister of Scotland urges the Prime Minister to seek a further extension in order to be able to do the job as he said he set out to do. That was to reach a successful end to the negotiations that protects our economy and jobs here in Wales.
“Inevitably, that has been disrupted by coronavirus. The straightforward, sensible thing is to add the time we have lost on to the current deadline and to be able to do the job that the Prime Minister said he wanted to do.
“We are leaving the European Union and our letter has nothing to do with that; that decision was made, and we will no longer be members of the EU. But what we are in at the moment is a transition period to the end of this year, a transition period that was there for a purpose.”
Following the talks between the UK and EU, Mr Sefcovic said: “I have to underline that the meeting took place in a very good atmosphere and I am glad that at the end of our discussions we also arrived at some positive results, which I believe would pave the way forward for the proper implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement.
“However, with some six months to go before the end of the transition period, we still have lots of work to do.”
On the issue of extending the transition deal, he said: “Michael Gove confirmed to me that the UK will not consider an extension of the transition period. From our side, I have taken note of the position of the UK on this issue and have stated, as President von der Leyen has already done, that the EU remains open to such an extension.
“In this context, we both, with Chancellor Gove, agreed on accelerating the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement and, to accelerate our work, and we also agreed that the Joint Committee should meet again in early September.”
He added: “I would just underline that what we want is to reach a really ambitious deal with the United Kingdom on the basis of the political declaration. We also said today that we regret that, so far, there was limited progress to date and we believe that it is perfectly possible to succeed on the basis of the existing mandate given to us by the Council.”
This meeting comes prior to Monday’s summit between the UK and EU, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and EU President Ursula von der Leyen both due to attend. It is hoped by some that the upcoming summit will provide a ‘reset’ to the negotiation process, which currently appears to have somewhat stalled.
We will bring you further coverage of next week’s EU summit as it takes place.