EU diplomats have admitted the UK is "seriously prepared" as the clock counts down to Brexit with talks intensifying in an attempt to thrash out a transtion deal.
Speaking at the Institute of Directors in London today, Junior Brexit Minister Robin Walker said: “We recognise how important it is to secure the deal on the implementation period as soon as possible.
“I want to stress that we are very close to a deal at this time.”
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According to The Telegraph, sources have revealed that the European Commission were “impressed” by the British team during negotiations in Brussels last week.
One EU diplomat said: “The UK was seriously prepared. It seems that ‘let’s get on with it’ means ‘let’s get on with it’.”
A second EU diplomat told The Telegraph: “It is clear that the United Kingdom has a strong will to reach an agreement on the transition period.”
London is aiming to secure an agreement on the transition period at the European Council summit on Thursday March 22. During transition, Britain will lose all EU voting rights but will have to implement all new and existing EU laws.
The UK has been accused of not having a clear plan to continue negotiations, with Prime Minister Theresa May inviting further ridicule last week when she finished her Mansion House speech in Brussels by saying: “Let’s get on with it.”
The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has previously been left frustrated at the demands from the British over the deal.
The UK wants the end date to be kept open-ended to around two years but the commission wants it to end by the start of 2021 so that it coincides with the end of the EU’s budget period.
Brussels and London are also in disagreement over whether EU citizens moving to Britain during the transition should be allowed to work and stay in the UK indefinitely post-Brexit.