But with the two sides failing to come to an agreement on how the new relationship will work, UK Prime Minister Theresa May has proposed extending this arrangement “for a few months.”
Speaking at a news conference in Brussels following a summit that was dominated by the Brexit issue, Donald Tusk, President of the EU’s intergovernmental body, the European Council, said the bloc’s leaders had not discussed the period of transition at the meeting, but said it was unlikely to be opposed.
Tusk said; “If the UK decided an extension of the transition period would be helpful to reach a deal, I am sure the leaders would be ready to consider it positively.”
Tusk nevertheless confirmed that insufficient progress had been made over the past two days to merit another more conclusive summit next month for final agreement on the terms of the deal, as previously planned.
“I stand ready to convene a European Council on Brexit, if and when the EU negotiator reports that decisive progress has been made,” Tusk said. “And, we should be clear that as for now, not enough progress has been made.”
But both Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker struck an optimistic note, saying that a Brexit deal is closer.
Tusk said EU leaders had nevertheless agreed to continue the Brexit talks after hearing from May.