16:57 GMT +318 November 2018
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    British Prime Minister Theresa May listens at the start of her meeting with the Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani inside 10 Downing Street in London, Tuesday, July 24, 2018

    May Expects Brexit Transition Period to End by Late December 2020 as Scheduled

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - UK Prime Minister Theresa May said on Thursday that she expected the Brexit transition period to come to a close by the end of December 2020, as it had been scheduled.

    May told reporters on the sidelines of the two-day European Council meeting, which started on Wednesday in Brussels, that the United Kingdom and the European Union had made "good progress" both on the withdrawal agreement and on the post-Brexit relations, while there were still some issues that impeded further progress in talks, such as the border between the Northern Ireland and Ireland.

    "A further idea that has emerged ― and it is an idea at this stage ― is to create an option to extend the implementation period for a matter of months, and it would only be for a matter of months… But, the point is that this is not expected to be used because we are working to ensure we have that future relationship in place by the end of December 2020," the UK prime minister was quoted by the Sky News media outlet as saying.

    READ MORE: EU Parliament Might Vote Against Brexit Deal If Irish Border Issue Not Settled

    May voiced UK commitment to reaching an agreement so that the need to extend the transition period does not arise.

    "And, in those circumstances, there will be no need for any proposal of this sort. I'm clear that I expect the implementation period end at the end of December 2020," she said.

    The statements of the British Prime Minister came on the heels of the EU proposal to extend the transition period beyond December 2020 over insufficient progress in talks on post-Brexit UK-EU relations.

    The United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union in a referendum in June 2016 and is expected to do so by late March 2019, while there are still certain stumbling blocks that impede talks, namely, the Irish border and the post-Brexit UK-EU economic relations.

    While European Council President Donald Tusk said in September that an extraordinary summit would be called for November 17-18 to finalize and formalize the EU-UK arrangement if sufficient progress in talks was reached, the EU leaders are currently not planning this extraordinary summit.

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