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UK formally rejects Brexit transition extension

Britain formally ruled out the possibility of an extended post-Brexit transition period, leaving business in uncertainty again.

Updated Jun 12, 2020 21:07 PM

UK formally rejects Brexit transition extension

Michael Gove, the British cabinet office minister, said on Friday in a tweet that he formally confirmed the decision, Xinhua news agency reported.

"I formally confirmed the UK will not extend the transition period & the moment for extension has now passed. On 1 January 2021 we will take back control and regain our political & economic independence," he said.

Gove said Thursday that the British government is not gambling with the European Union (EU) over Brexit despite the stalled trade talks between the two sides, insisting that Britain will not extend transition period beyond December 31.

"Under no circumstances will the government accept an extension. Indeed, we have a domestic law obligation not to accept. Extending would simply delay the moment at which we achieve what we want and what the country voted for ... our economic and political independence," he told MPs in the House of Commons (lower house of parliament).

Britain and the EU concluded their fourth round of talks last week, during which they made no progress on the most difficult areas where differences of principle are most acute, notably on fisheries, governance arrangements and the so-called level playing field.

The focus will now switch to a crucial meeting next Monday between British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.

Britain ended its EU membership on January 31 but is still following EU rules during the transition period until December 31 to enable a permanent future trade deal to be reached. During this period, Britain would have to pay into EU funds but have no say in laws imposed by Brussels.

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