To avoid a hard Brexit, Britain will be allowed to remain in the European Union customs union and internal market beyond an agreed transitional agreement – until the end of December 2020. This is according to a report in the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

“In a goodwill gesture to Britain, the commission has raised the possibility of extending the transitional period,” the newspaper reported on October 16, citing a German government document. It did not say what the new date was.

As reported by the newspaper the transitional period should give both sides the necessary time to clarify their future relationship and negotiate a comprehensive free trade agreement.

On the ground, the extension of the transitional period will mean no customs checks would be necessary between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom.