April 27, 2020
Coronavirus has changed everything. Make sense of it all with the Waugh Zone, our evening politics briefing. Sign up now.
Despite Coronavirus, No.10 Wont Extend The Brexit Transition. Heres Why
Coronavirus has affected almost every single aspect of our daily lives and the work of the government.
But there is one area where Boris Johnson is refusing to countenance any changes - Brexit.
Despite the likelihood of a recession this year following the lockdown, the prime minister is sticking to his Brexit principles and refusing calls to extend the transition period beyond December 31 to give the country a breather before the upheaval of leaving the EU single market and customs union.
No.10 is even arguing the UK must bring an end to EU rules by 2021 to have the “legislative and economic flexibility” to manage the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
HuffPost UK has learned that apart from the political imperative for Johnson to deliver on his promises as the de facto Brexit PM, officials are concerned about how remaining tied to Brussels could hinder the government’s response to Coronavirus next year.
Their concerns are in three key areas - state aid rules, the EU budget and Brussels regulation relating to Covid-19.On state aid, the government wants the freedom to financially support UK businesses without falling foul of EU rules that prohibit anything that distorts fair competition across the continent.
During the crisis so far, chancellor Rishi Sunak has already had to get European Commission approval for a £50bn umbrella scheme to support businesses with grants and state guarantees for loans.
This was a result of the EU relaxing its rules, but given the economic effects of the crisis could last years, the UK wants more flexibility.
On the budget, officials point out that Commission president Ursula Von Der Leyen has talked about “front loading” the EU budget to help countries deal with the crisis, and therefore the UK fears it may have to pay more to Brussels to extend the transition.
Thirdly, the British government does not want to be bound by any regulations the EU introduces in response to coronavirus, instead wanting to be free to forge its own path.
A source close to the negotiations said: “There’s a lot of uncertainty about how the EU will respond, we won’t necessarily have the flexibility to respond in ways we want to.”
The UK also believes that extending the transition will not help the UK and EU strike a deal, despite the stalling negotiations taking place in difficult circumstances through videoconferencing and likely to continue that way for the foreseeable future.
“Ultimately either there is an agreement to be made or there’s not,” a Whitehall source said. “There’s a view that an extra six months or a year doesn’t fundamentally change that.”
But how realistic are these concerns? This is what the experts said.State aidExperts agreed that the UK will have more flexibility to help businesses once the transition period ends and state aid rules no longer apply.
But some questioned whether the government actually had much scope to use it.
“It would be more convincing if they could come up with specific examples,” professor Anand Menon, director of the UK in a Changing Europe think-tank said.
“I’ve yet to hear anyone say ‘this is what we need to be able to do, but they won’t let us’. 
He added: “And the EU have even relaxed their state aid rules for coronavirus.”Georgina Wright, of the Institute for Government (IfG), said EU state aid rules were a “legitimate concern” for the UK.
But she warned that the benefits of being free of the regulations could be outweighed by leaving the European single market and customs union.
“If you are outside and there’s no trade regime to fall back on you are effectively creating new barriers to trade. 
“This would affect supply chains and your ability to procure medical equipment quickly from the EU.
“So the question isn’t just about state aid rules, it’s much broader than that.” EU budgetWright meanwhile stressed that no final decision had been made on the EU budget.
Furthermore, Johnson’s own withdrawal agreement makes clear that any payment for extending the transition would need to be agreed by both sides through the so-called joint committee, which presides over exit issues. 
Wright said some Brussels figures are said to be “irritated” that the UK is using the EU budget and potential payments for a longer transition period as cover for not extending.We will only pay the money if we agree to pay the moneyMember states are also “completely split” on the EU coronavirus recovery fund and there has been no decision about what it will look like or where the funding would come from.
“I think it’s fair to assume that the EU would not be asking the UK to contribute to anything it would not be directly benefiting from,” Wright said.
Menon meanwhile pointed out that the UK could negotiate an extension and reject the idea if the proposed payments were too high.
“We will only pay the money if we agree to pay the money,” he said.
“So we can have the negotiation on transition and then walk away if we don’t like it, they won’t force us to - we have to agree up front.”EU lawsThe UK will have more freedom from EU rules after the transition but this will not necessarily affect its health response to coronavirus.
“When it comes to Covid, the EU’s response has been patchy because it covers health policy where the EU has limited or no say at all,” Wright said.
“Member states have very different health systems - for example the UK and France.”
Menon added: “That is a genuine danger of transition that you are forced to implement regulations that you don’t like and over which you have no say.
“But you’ve got to ask given the divisions in the EU over coronavirus, it’s hard to imagine a piece of legislation that they will all agree on.”Does it matter anyway?Maddy Thimont Jack, who focuses on the UK’s approach to Brexit at the IfG, warned that even if a deal is done with the EU, coronavirus has made preparations for the end of the transition more difficult.
“The message we are getting is a lot of people in government are being reprioritised to focus on coronavirus,” she said.
“This is taking up the entirety of the government’s business.
“How they were going to prepare for life after Brexit was already going to be a huge task, it was near-impossible to do it within a year anyway and then you add coronavirus and it just seems pretty much impossible to be honest.”The no-deal Brexit planning already done by the government was more short-term “mitigation on day one” and “there wasn’t that much planning or thinking” further down the line, she said.
For example, the UK will be imposing checks at the border from 2021, but was not planning to do so in the event of no deal, where it planned to take more of a “sticking plaster” approach of allowing trade to flow.
So much more work needs to be done to get ready for the end of transition.So could reality bite and Johnson U-turn?Plenty of people in Westminster have speculated that the UK and EU may in the end agree a transition extension in all-but-name as part of a wider trade deal.
That would allow Johnson to save face with Brexiteers, and allow both sides breathing space from coronavirus.
But Wright warned that this approach is “very difficult” on the EU side because it needs a legal basis in the treaties.
Any implementation phase would likely be covered by a new agreement, which in turn, may require ratification in national parliaments.
“For the EU my mantra is always ‘when there is political will there is always a legal way, when there is a legal way there is not always necessarily political will’,” she said.
“The implementation phase would be very contentious so there is no guarantee there will be political will to support one - let alone a legal basis to agree one.”
Menon stresses that in reality the arguments for not extending the transition are “mainly political”, but that “political arguments are powerful for this government”.Related... EU Warns Brexit Talks Could Collapse Unless UK Budges On Key Issues Boris Johnson Warns 'New Wave Of Death' Will Come If Lockdown Lifts Too Early Six Things You Need To Know About Coronavirus Today
Related Stories
Latest News
Top news around the world
Russo-Ukrainian War

The Russo-Ukrainian War has been ongoing between Russia and Ukraine since February 2014.

Russia's war in Ukraine has proven almost every assumption wrong, with Europe now wondering what left is safe to assume.

Around the World

Celebrity News

> Latest News in Media

Watch It
Madonna’s most bizarre TikTok and Instagram videos of 2022 | Page Six Celebrity News
December 30, 2022
Ggk_RlohXuI
Teresa Giudice and Luis Ruelas stand by sex multiple times a day: It’s ‘normal’ | Page Six
December 30, 2022
AljKbtgRGnc
Lisa Hochstein shared video confronting Lenny Hochstein & girlfriend at Miami club #shorts | PageSix
December 30, 2022
j_JVk60r6EI
'Channel 5' Creator Andrew Callaghan Talks BTS of 'This Place Rules' Documentary Feature
December 30, 2022
dJit_YG5fjg
#brendanfraser on getting jacked to play 'George of the Jungle' after 'Airheads" with #adamsandler
December 30, 2022
bkwreE4eMRQ
Selena Gomez, Ryan Gosling and Julia Fox Top the List Of Variety's Best Red Carpet Moments Of 2022
December 29, 2022
pv2A-331cLg
Wiz Khalifa Joins Neek Bucks For Upcoming 'Shot Caller' Video | TMZ
December 26, 2022
TxkRr1jj-gk
Andrew Zimmern Says TikTok Recipes Need to Stop This Holiday Season | TMZ
December 26, 2022
DdlO88KfJoY
Top 7 WTF Moments of 2022 | TMZ
December 26, 2022
3JA-5abr6A4
Most HIGHLY ANTICIPATED Movies of 2023 | E! News
January 01, 2023
3-1K1VSRjys
22 Pop Culture Moments That Defined 2022: Link in Comments! #shorts | E! News
December 31, 2022
MNnChuudoSA
Suspect Charged With Murder in Idaho College Killings | E! News
December 31, 2022
aeonRlI5xL0
TV Schedule
Late Night Show
Watch the latest shows of U.S. top comedians

Sports

Latest sport results, news, videos, interviews and comments
Latest Events
01
Jan
ENGLAND: Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur - Aston Villa
01
Jan
ENGLAND: Premier League
Nottingham Forest - Chelsea
01
Jan
ENGLAND: Championship
Coventry - Bristol City
01
Jan
ENGLAND: Championship
Blackburn - Cardiff City
01
Jan
ENGLAND: Championship
Huddersfield - Luton
01
Jan
ENGLAND: Championship
Millwall - Rotherham
01
Jan
ENGLAND: Championship
Blackpool - Sunderland
31
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester City - Everton
31
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Wolves - Manchester United
31
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Brighton - Arsenal
31
Dec
SPAIN: La Liga
Barcelona - Espanyol
31
Dec
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Sociedad - Osasuna
31
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Bournemouth - Crystal Palace
31
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Newcastle United - Leeds
31
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Fulham - Southampton
31
Dec
SPAIN: La Liga
Villarreal - Valencia
30
Dec
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Valladolid - Real Madrid
30
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Liverpool - Leicester City
30
Dec
ENGLAND: Championship
Birmingham - Hull City
30
Dec
ENGLAND: Championship
Stoke City - Burnley
30
Dec
ENGLAND: Championship
Norwich City - Reading
30
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
West Ham United - Brentford
30
Dec
ENGLAND: Championship
Swansea City - Watford
30
Dec
SPAIN: La Liga
Celta Vigo - Sevilla
30
Dec
SPAIN: La Liga
Cadiz - Almeria
30
Dec
SPAIN: La Liga
Getafe - Mallorca
29
Dec
SPAIN: La Liga
Atletico Madrid - Elche
29
Dec
ENGLAND: Championship
West Bromwich Albion - Preston NE
29
Dec
ENGLAND: Championship
Blackpool - Sheffield United
28
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Leeds - Manchester City
27
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester United - Nottingham Forest
27
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Chelsea - Bournemouth
26
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Arsenal - West Ham United
26
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Brentford - Tottenham Hotspur
26
Dec
ENGLAND: Premier League
Aston Villa - Liverpool
Find us on Instagram
at @feedimo to stay up to date with the latest.
Featured Video You Might Like
zWJ3MxW_HWA L1eLanNeZKg i1XRgbyUtOo -g9Qziqbif8 0vmRhiLHE2U JFCZUoa6MYE UfN5PCF5EUo 2PV55f3-UAg W3y9zuI_F64 -7qCxIccihU pQ9gcOoH9R8 g5MRDEXRk4k
Copyright © 2020 Feedimo. All Rights Reserved.