Published: Sat, September 23, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

British PM Theresa May proposes two-year 'implementation period' after Brexit

British PM Theresa May proposes two-year 'implementation period' after Brexit

Speaking in the Renaissance city of Florence, Mrs May acknowledged that people in the United Kingdom and across the continent were anxious about the prospect of Brexit, but insisted that she was optimistic about a future in which the United Kingdom and European Union live alongside one another in a deep and special partnership. The UK now pays about 10 billion euros (about $12 billion) each year.

"We will listen attentively and constructively to Theresa May's important speech tomorrow in Florence", added Barnier, who holds a new round of Brexit negotiations in Brussels next week.

And he said the European Union side would have to assess whether the Prime Minister's recognition that no member would have to "pay more or receive less" as a result of Brexit covered all the commitments made by the United Kingdom as a member state.

May will urge negotiators to redouble their efforts to conclude a deal.

"I believe we share a profound sense of responsibility to make the change work smoothly and sensibly, not just for people today but for the next generation who will inherit the world we leave them".

The European Parliament, which will have a final vote on any Brexit deal when Britain leaves in March 2019, will vote a motion on the progress of the talks next month.

May touched upon controversial issues - such as the British budget - in an attempt to breathe new life into the languishing negotiations.

Britain wants to move the talks forward and start addressing how a future relationship with the European Union would work, a move Ms May's government says is vital if they want to find agreement on the divorce settlement bill now under debate.

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Trump must decide by October 15 whether to certify that Iran is complying with the pact, a decision that could sink the deal. However, Tillerson said the White House is now turning its back on the deal because of "political aspects".

Divisions have also emerged within May's government.

She hopes this offer, made in a speech in Italy, will unblock Brexit talks.

"The speech shows a willingness to move forward, as time is of the essence", the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said in a lengthy statement, adding that Ms May's specially staged event in Renaissance Florence chimed with the spirit of Europe.

May said a transition period would give business "valuable certainty", and arrangements for such an agreement should be made "as early as possible".

Mrs May appeared to rule out retaining membership of the European Economic Area (EEA), a kind of halfway-house position that Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland have opted for.

Manfred Weber, a German MEP and close ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel, said: "In substance, PM May is bringing no more clarity to London's positions". It is in our common interest. In time, this will pave the way for an equally "bespoke" trade deal.

The fourth round of negotiations gets underway in Brussels this Monday September 25th.

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