The Scottish and Welsh authorities, the Scottish National Party and the Liberal Democrats, as well as several other organisations, have called for an extension of the post-Brexit transition period in order to have more time to negotiate a deal. The transitional period expires on 31 December 2020, but the Withdrawal Agreement provides for an extension of the transitional period of up to two years if agreed by the end of June 2020. The government has legislated to prohibit itself from asking for an extension and continues to reaffirm that it will not do so. The fourth part of the draft text deals with the United Kingdom`s participation in EU programmes and sound financial management. It covers the financial conditions for the UK`s participation in EU programmes, which would include a combined membership fee and an operational contribution. The EU institutions have the right to carry out checks and verifications of individuals and organisations that receive EU funds in the UK. This implies that the United Kingdom continues to follow the European Convention on Human Rights and continues to apply the Convention in domestic law. The NFU supports the common goal of the UK government and the EU to achieve a free trade agreement free of customs duties, fees, royalties and quantitative restrictions for each other`s products. It is to be welcomed that both the EU and the UK are striving for duty- and quota-free access for each other`s goods. If this were achieved, it would achieve part of the NFU goal of “free and as fluid as possible with the EU”.
Unfortunately, there is still room for “friction” in the context of “free” trade and this too needs to be addressed by negotiators.