As the Coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt activities worldwide, including the negotiations between the European Union and the United Kingdom on their future partnership, the EPP Group in the European Parliament wants to discuss an extension of the transition period beyond its current deadline at the end of this year.
“Under these extraordinary circumstances, I cannot see how the UK Government would choose to expose itself to the double whammy of the Coronavirus and the exit from the EU Single Market, which will inevitably add to the disruption, deal or no deal. I can only hope that common sense and substance will prevail over ideology. An extension of the transition period is the only responsible thing to do”, said Christophe Hansen MEP, negotiator of the post-Brexit agreement in the European Parliament’s Committee on International Trade, ahead of the first meeting of the EU-UK Joint Committee, a body set up to oversee the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement.
“The Coronavirus pandemic complicates the already very ambitious schedule”, said David McAllister MEP, Chair of the UK Coordination Group in the European Parliament. “The EU has always been open to extending the transition period. The ball is now clearly in the British court. The United Kingdom would have to submit an official request. So far, the UK government has constantly rejected such an option. Under the current circumstances, London should carefully re-examine a prolongation."
Both MEPs clearly rejected any attempts to re-open the terms of the current Withdrawal Agreement. “The implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement is extremely important for us - we would like to see guarantees that the UK will fulfil all its commitments stemming from the Withdrawal Agreement and the Irish Protocol”, Hansen and McAllister concluded.
The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 187 Members from all EU Member States