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The EU’s chief negotiator said Brussels is “open” to extending the transition period in a letter to the Westminster leaders of the SNP, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, SDLP, Green Party and Alliance Party. But the offer has prompted an angry reaction on the Daily Express Facebook page.
One reader commented: “The Remainers have no powers to agree to any of it.
“This is demonstrating how worried and desperate the EU is getting over our no compromise stance. Keep it up Boris.”
Another wrote: “Of course they’re willing for a delay. They don’t want us to leave because the realisation is now beginning to sink in.
“They cannot milk us anymore for billions, giving very little in return.
“The EU will be dead and buried within 5 years without our money and they know that.”
A third said: “Angry though I am, it does prove how desperate the EU is about being able to find the funds for their next year’s Budget.
“For God’s sake, Boris get us out NO DELAYS!”
Another commented: “We’ve left. We’re only in Transition whilst a FTA is negotiated.
“No FTA then we default into WTO terms. I wish people would remember this!”
One more added: “The EU’s last throw of the dice, panic has set in, reality is approaching.”
Boris cuts down Michel Barnier’s two-year extension plea [INSIGHT]
‘Pathetic’ Blackford faces backlash after thanking Barnier for letter [VIDEO]
Brexit transition WILL end this year: Frost lays down law over Barnier [ANALYSIS]
Mr Barnier was responding to a letter from the party leaders on May 15 demanding a two-year extension.
The EU chief said: “Such an extension of up to one or two years can be agreed jointly by the two parties.
“The European Union has always said that we remain open on this matter.
“Any extension decision has to be taken by the Joint Committee before July 1, and must be accompanied by an agreement on a financial contribution by the United Kingdom.”
The SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford welcomed the letter and called on Boris Johnson to accept the offer.
Acting leader of the Lib Dems Sir Ed Davey added that it is “high time for the Conservative Government to think again” on the deadline.
But the UK’s chief negotiator David Frost told MPs the Government would not push back the transition period.
Mr Frost told the Commons Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union on Wednesday: “That is the firm policy of the Government, that we will not extend the transition period and if asked we would not agree to it.”
The transition period began when the UK left the EU on January 31 and runs until December 31 2020.
The Prime Minister has repeatedly ruled out extending the deadline despite claims by critics the timeframe is too tight.
It comes as little progress was made in the latest round of trade talks between the UK and the EU, which are taking place remotely due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Major obstacles in negotiations include fishing arrangements and the bloc’s call for a level playing field on standards.
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