Brexit transition 'should end by 2021', European Union negotiator Barnier says

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The development comes after European Union leaders signed off last week on the first stage of Brexit negotiations, ending more than a year of stalemate over Britain's bill for leaving the bloc, as well as the fate of the Irish border and European Union expatriates.

In a move to allay fears of a pledge for "regularity alignment" with the European Union in the divorce bill, the Prime Minister said she wants "a deal which secures the best possible trading terms with the European Union, enables the United Kingdom to set rules that are right for our situation, and facilitates ambitious third country trade deals".

"There is no place [for financial services]", the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, said on Tuesday (19 December).

The central bank said it made the decision on the assumption that a "high degree of supervisory co-operation with the EU" would continue after Britain leaves the bloc. Brussels has signalled a detailed trade deal is likely to take much longer, and that Britain's transition period must end by 2020.

In a move that will please many Brexit supporters, she ruled out the option of a Norway-style membership of the European Economic Area as "democratically unsustainable" because it would mean the United Kingdom having automatically to observe rules and regulations which it had no influence over.

Guidelines covering the future relationship will be presented to the leaders of the remaining 27 states at a European Council summit in March, Mr Barnier said.

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Last week May's fragility was exposed by the rebellion of 11 largely pro-European Conservative lawmakers in a parliamentary vote on Brexit legislation that led to an embarrassing defeat.

Given that Theresa May plans to trigger Brexit in March 2019, it means the United Kingdom would have less than two years to prepare for a full exit and complete a future trade deal with the bloc.

International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde said in London on Wednesday that Britain's economy was "losing out" as a result of last year's vote to leave the European Union, but that any post-Brexit trade deal could help ease the pain.

"We have accepted the amendment. but I can assure.(members of parliament) that we would only use this power in exceptional circumstances, for the shortest possible time", May said.

Influential pro-Brexit lawmaker Jacob Rees-Mogg slammed this demand as "rather hostile", leaving the United Kingdom "no more than a vassal state, a colony, a serf of the European Union".