BERLIN, March 31 A transition period offered to
Britain by the European Union in Brexit negotiating guidelines
it issued on Friday is the only way to avoid the talks failing,
an ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.
In the guidelines, the EU offered Britain talks this year on
a future free trade pact but made clear that London must first
agree to the bloc's demands on the terms of Brexit.
The document, seen by Reuters, sets tough conditions for any
transition period, insisting Britain must accept many EU rules
after any such partial withdrawal.
Detlef Seif, the deputy EU spokesman for Merkel's
conservative parliamentary bloc, said there were effectively
only 15 months for the negotiations and this was insufficient
time to wrap up Britain's exit from the bloc.
"Without transitional provisions, the negotiations would be
doomed to failure from the start," Seif told Reuters.
"The proposal provides the necessary room and flexibility to
negotiate reasonably and to reach high-quality arrangements," he
said of the guidelines, which may be revised before leaders of
the remaining 27 EU states endorse them at an April 29 summit.
"The more access to the internal market Britain wants, the
greater the trade-off and so the more Britain must submit to EU
law," said Seif, warning Britain not to try to divide the bloc
by negotiating with individual member states.
"Should this transpire, it would be the end of the EU's good
behaviour and willingness to compromise, which can clearly be
seen in the draft guidelines," he added.
(Reporting by Paul Carrel; Editing by Gareth Jones)