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EU toughens demands on UK for Brexit transition in draft

[LONDON] The European Union (EU) has stepped up the demands it will make of the UK for the transitional period that follows Brexit, calling for more rights for EU citizens, according to revised draft guidelines seen by Bloomberg.

The UK won't be able to apply new immigration rules to EU citizens arriving during the transition period, according to the document. That means anyone arriving in the UK before the end of 2020 would be able to remain indefinitely.

"The provisions of the citizens' rights part of the withdrawal agreement should apply as from the end of the transition period," according to the draft, which was first reported on by the Financial Times.

Controlling immigration was one of the key demands of the campaign to leave the bloc and postponing the date that the UK can start controlling its migration numbers will be controversial for the pro-Brexit faction of the ruling Conservative party.

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The revised guidelines also state that the UK will have to seek permission to recreate trade deals with third parties. The UK wants to copy EU trade deals with other countries to maintain the benefits once it leaves. The EU draft also tightens the wording on fishing quotas - another area that was important in the campaign.

Negotiations on the transition period are due to start at the end of January once the EU has finalised its position. Businesses are keen for the terms of the two-year transition to be nailed down as soon as possible so they know they will have time to plan before the UK leaves in March 2019.

BLOOMBERG

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