Doubts on post-Brexit transition period – EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan

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Boris Johnson will dump his pledge to end the post-Brexit transition period by December 2020, EU trade commissioner Phil Hogan claimed, in a sign of deepening Brussels scepticism that talks on the future relationship with the UK can be completed by that date.

The Financial Times reports that Hogan pointed to the UK premier’s previous U-turn over extending the Brexit deadline and branded the Johnson government’s decision to enshrine the December 2020 date in law as “very odd” and a “stunt”.

“In the past, we saw the way the prime minister promised to die in the ditch rather than extend the deadline for Brexit, only for him to do just that,” Mr Hogan told the Irish Times in an interview, referring to the decision to push back the Brexit date from October 31 to January 31.

“I don’t believe Prime Minister Johnson will die in the ditch over the timeline for the future relationship either.”

Hogan believes agreement on a level playing pitch for standards and regulation will be the most difficult issue to resolve. On the positive side, he hopes an agreement will sort out confusion about the terms of the hybrid agreement in October about where checks and controls would be carried out on goods moving between the British mainland and Northern Ireland.

He thinks the outcome of the UK election in the North has been positive in that political representation is now more in line with grassroots opinion with a better reflection of the Brexit concerns of business, agrifood and community groups.

“It is clear that Northern Ireland stakeholder views have not been articulated fairly or accurately over past three years. What was sadly missing was the Northern Ireland Assembly to allow all views and concerns to be heard.

“The most helpful thing now would be for Stormont to be up and running. North-south and east-west forums need to meet regularly to debate and assist implementation of the final EU/UK deal.

Via Financial Times / Irish Times


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