THE Government’s decision to not extend the Brexit transition period was partly driven by concerns that the UK would need to pay “enormous” amounts to a coronavirus aid finance, according to reports.
The claim comes just days after the UK declared that it would refuse to extend past the transition deadline regardless of the continuing coronavirus pandemic.
A government spokesman said an extension would necessitate the UK to continue to follow EU rules in a time when it “requires flexibility” to handle COVID-19.
But a source “close to the negotiations” told the Sunday Telegraph that possible COVID-19 payments in the EU funding were just another reason.
The source said it would be “clearly not in the national interest” to pay into an EU budget in this manner adding “we will need to invest in our needs in our way”.
Meanwhile, David Frost, the UK’s chief negotiator, explained the position of the Government on Twitter.
He wrote: “Transition ends on December 31 this year. We won’t ask to extend it. We will say no When the EU asks.
“Extending would only extend discussions, create even more uncertainty, leave us liable to pay more to the EU in the future, and keep us jumped by evolving EU legislation at a time when we will need to restrain our affairs.”
Mr Frost and also the European Commission’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said they held “constructive” talks on Wednesday to set out dates for trade deal talks during the year.
Three separate weeks of talks have been agreed, with the first week of discussions taking place today. The remainder will commence on May 11 and June 1, the BBC reports.
The talks come after several cancelled face to face discussions because of the COVID-19 outbreak; however, meetings will take place over videoconference.
Included in the UK’s withdrawal agreement with the EU, the UK must reach a trade deal by the end of the year.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has stated that he’s “confident” that this is going to be the situation without adjustments to the current timetable.
Britain voted to leave the EU in June 2016.
Withdrawal finally took place, after being postponed several times, at the end of January.
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