The UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, has called for transitional arrangements to ‘smooth’ the process of Britain leaving the EU. During Monday’s Treasury select committee, the Mr Hammond told MPs that: “There is an emerging view among business, among regulators and among thoughtful politicians…that having a longer period to manage the adjustment between now…and where we get to…would be generally helpful for creating a smoother transition and [create] less risks to disruption.” Therefore, it is clear that the chancellor wants Britain to have more than two years, as stipulated under Article 50, to finesse its departure from the EU.
The Treasury select committee has launched an investigation into the transitional arrangements needed for Brexit, highlighting the concern (even among supporters of Brexit) that there are potentially serious adverse economic risks surrounding it. The view that a transitional period will be necessary after Brexit has become increasingly prevalent as there is a growing belief that Article 50’s two-year period will not give enough time to complete exit negotiations and secure a new relationship with Europe. Michel Barnier, the EU’s lead negotiator, said a “transitional agreement only makes sense if it prepares the way for a future relationship.” Consequently, many Brexiters fear that an open-ended transition would result in the UK adhering to the rules that are imposed by EU membership, such as budget contributions and free movement of people, almost indefinitely.