Brexit Is Set To Happen Three Months Earlier Than Expected
It appears Britain will pull out of the European Union three months earlier than expected. Negotiators on both sides of the tricky deal have reportedly agreed to an official divorce date of 31 December 2020.
A government source has told the Sun: "The EU timetable is the working assumption and no one seems too upset by that."
The British Prime Minister originally wanted a transition period of 'around two years' after the 29 March 2019 date, but it's reported officials are happier with a 21-month grace period.
Michel Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator, told reporters that a shorter transition time would be beneficial to both parties and would be 'useful for Britain to get prepared for the kind of challenges they will face... and for the new relationship'.
He adds that UK businesses will still have access to the single market but still must adhere to its obligations and duties of their shared policies.
Mr Barnier ominously warned British companies to 'start preparing for this right now'.
One area where this will be beneficial to the UK is fishing.
According to the Times, the industry will be exempt from the official transition period rules, meaning Britain doesn't have to wait until the end of 2020 to shake hands on a new deal.
But there is still a cloud hanging over the banking sector and its future. Theresa May says it should have a special deal in the ongoing Brexit negotiations, with a government spokesperson telling the Sun: "We're confident of negotiating a deep and special economic partnership that will include a good deal for financial services."
Mr Barnier poured cold water over that ideation, speaking to the Guardian: "There is no place [for financial services]. There is not a single trade agreement that is open to financial services. It doesn't exist."
He adds any deal that the UK should want to pursue is the one that Canada, South Korea and Japan have with the EU.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer Phillip Hammond is launching a bid this week to ensure France doesn't headhunt City bankers. He'll be visiting Sweden, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal and Norway to outline their Brexit vision.
The Daily Express says France is trying to turn Paris into the new financial hub of the European Union in the wake of Britain leaving.
Theresa May is due to give a speech this week, explaining how she envisions the UK will have a relationship with the EU post-Brexit.
Featured Image Credit: PA