Guy Verhofstadt, European Parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator warns of potential setbacks if “association agreement” is not released at the right time for both parties (UK and EU) to accept it.
Mr Verhofstadt asks for the agreement to act as a potential outline for the final one and to have it released by October or November this year. Following this, the final withdrawal, according to him, would have to be released by the end of 2018.
He warned that if this was not done at the right time, it would make way for potential setbacks.
He stated that any misunderstandings will cause the EU to take longer to ratify the agreement. And having the agreement ready before the end of the year would mean that it would allow for Westminster MPs and European parliament’s MEPs to vote and work towards finalising it.
He highlighted that this was especially crucial because the UK will officially leave the EU on 29 March 2019 and will be followed by a two-year transition period within which both sides would be able to outline the details of future trade agreements.
The “association” agreement, said Mr. Verhofstadt, would be a flexible framework within which a “very broad” or “very narrow” relationship could be achieved in terms of trade agreements.