GB-UNION-JOHNSON-ACCORD: Brexit: Johnson “more optimistic” than Barnier on negotiations with the EU
LONDON, (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday that he was more optimistic than European Union officials about the possibility of reaching a post-Brexit agreement, while adding that Britain could leave the bloc without global agreement if necessary.
EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier from France acknowledged this week that there were serious differences to reach an agreement and noted that Britain had to respect the EU position.
The UK officially left the EU on January 31, but remains subject to EU rules during a transition period until the end of the year, until the two parties agree on their future relationship. and avoid a Brexit without agreement.
So far, no significant progress has been made, with negotiations stalling in particular on fishing and conditions of free competition.
Both sides expected this week’s new negotiations to relaunch the process. Alas, the scheduled individual meeting between the chief negotiators has been canceled.
Asked by LBC radio if the British government was disrespectful of EU rules, Boris Johnson replied, “No, by no means.”
“We have to make sure we get a good deal,” he said. “In fact … I am a little more optimistic than Michel (Barnier, note), there is a good agreement to conclude but obviously if we do not manage, we will also have the very good option of an Australian type agreement “.
Australia does not have a comprehensive trade agreement with the EU. While there are specific agreements for certain products, most trade between the EU and Australia follows the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
(Guy Faulconbridge and Kate Holton, French version Diana Mandiá, edited by Blandine Hénault)