May to restate desire for Brexit transition deal to European business chiefs

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street in London
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street in London, Britain November 9, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville

November 9, 2017

LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Theresa May will restate her desire for a two-year Brexit implementation period when she meets European business organizations on Monday, her office said in a statement.

The meeting comes amid slow progress in negotiations on leaving the European Union that has unsettled businesses and drawn warnings that unless a transition is agreed soon, some may begin activating Brexit contingency plans.

“Mrs May will reiterate the UK’s commitment to securing an implementation period of around two years once Britain leaves the EU in March 2019,” the statement said.

May has stepped up her engagement with businesses in recent months, regularly meeting with British lobby groups and senior executives.

Monday’s meeting would, for the first time, expand that program to include include representatives from industry groups from Germany, France, Italy, Spain and other member states as well as British and EU-wide organizations.

“(May) will ask the business experts from organizations including the CBI and BusinessEurope to share their input on how the UK and EU can continue to thrive side by side in industry and economic development,” the statement said.

“The Prime Minister will also reiterate her vision set out in Florence for a bold and deep economic partnership with the EU – one in which the UK continues to be a global, free trading nation and the strongest friend and partner to the EU.”

Ministers from the departments of Brexit, business and the finance ministry will also attend.

(Reporting by William James; editing by Stephen Addison)