February 25, 2024

London wants a temporary customs union after Britain leaves the European Union – DW – August 15, 2017

Great Britain has proposed creating a temporary customs union for the post-Brexit period. The Brexit Department in London said such a transition period could give the economy in the UK, but also in the EU, more security. “Our goal is to ensure trade with the European Union as smooth as possible.” During this transition period – which is still unclear how long it will last – Lundheim wants to establish new business relationships around the world.

Britain's membership in the EU customs union currently prevents the country from concluding its own trade deals with other countries. However, London sees such agreements as important for the post-Brexit period. Experts warn that negotiating a new free trade agreement between the EU and Great Britain before Brexit is likely to be very difficult.

The European Union Commission welcomed the publication of the British position papers in general. A Brussels spokesman said that this is a positive step towards a real start to the first phase of the negotiations. “The clock is ticking and this will allow us to make progress.” The next round of negotiations with Great Britain is scheduled to begin as planned in the last week of August.

Naturally, the EU Commission did not want to comment in more detail on the content of the British papers. The spokesman said: “We have noted the UK’s request for a transition period and its preferences regarding the future relationship, but we will not comment on this until we have made sufficient progress towards an orderly exit.” An agreement on the future relationship between the EU and London can only be finalized after Great Britain becomes a “third country”.

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The European Union flag flutters in front of the Palace of Westminster (archive photo)Photo: Reuters/B. Nichols

British Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox had already proposed a temporary phase after secession from the European Union on Sunday. They stressed that their country will exit the European Union in March 2019 “without a back door.”

So far, Brexit negotiations, which officially began in June, have been very slow. Among the main topics of the talks are Brussels' financial demands from London, which could reach 100 billion euros. There is also a struggle over the right to remain for about 3.2 million European citizens in the Kingdom and 1.2 million Britons in the European Union.

yj/as (Agence France-Presse, AFP)