The UK believes post-Brexit trade talks are “finished”, Downing Street said on Friday. Only a change of position on the part of the Europeans could bring London back to the negotiating table.
Discussions escalated after Thursday’s EU summit, where the 27 demanded concessions from London, while saying they wanted to continue talks to reach a free trade deal before next year, when EU rules cease to apply. apply to UK.
But the United Kingdom opposed him on Friday with an end of inadmissibility and threatens to leave the ship with a “no-deal”, which would mark the introduction of quotas and customs duties between the block of 27 and the United Kingdom , and would block access to British waters for European fishermen.
“There does not seem to be any progress on the part of Brussels so what we tell them is: come and see us if there is a fundamental change in approach, otherwise it is fine for us to talk about the practical details” of an exit without a trade deal, Boris Johnson warned on television. “We have to prepare for an arrangement that resembles what has been concluded with Australia.”
In other words: a “no deal” where trade is governed by the rules of the World Trade Organization.
Brussels believes that a compromise on a possible free trade agreement must be found by the end of October in order to be able to be implemented in January. But Boris Johnson had made Thursday’s European summit a deadline, arguing that for lack of compromise, the two parties should “accept it and move forward”.
EU heads of state and government there demanded that London do “whatever is necessary to make a deal possible”, appearing to harden their stance on talks earlier in the week between Boris Johnson and the president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.
The latter nevertheless assured that European negotiators would go to London next week “to intensify” the discussions, attracting a curt response from Downing Street.
“From our point of view, the trade negotiations are over. The EU has de facto put an end to them,” Boris Jonhson spokesman said. “There is no point in a visit to London (by the European negotiator) Michel Barnier unless he is ready to discuss in an accelerated manner (…) without the United Kingdom having to make all the concessions ( …). Otherwise, it is not worth it “.
Disputes over “everything, everything!”
Michel Barnier assured Thursday that he wanted to continue to negotiate “intensively” next week in London, then the following week in Brussels. But the cloth seems to be burning between the two ex-partners.
The talks are still stumbling on three subjects: access for Europeans to fish-rich British waters, the guarantees demanded in London in terms of competition and how to settle disputes in the future agreement.
“They want to continue to control our legislative freedom and our fishing industry in a way that is completely unacceptable,” Boris Johnson denounced Friday, noting that there are “only ten weeks left before the end of the transition period. “following the exit from the EU, effective January 31.
Discussions between London and the 27 on Brexit “stumble on everything, everything!”, Well beyond fishing, regretted French President Emmanuel Macron. “The problem is far from being just fishing, it is much more fundamental, he said, our main problem is the rules of fair competition.”