European Union post-Brexit deal deadline slips away but Brussels still talking

Remigio Civitarese
Ottobre 17, 2020

Irish prime minister Micheal Martin said European Union leaders had given Barnier "the necessary flexibility to continue with the negotiations.to ensure a comprehensive fair and free trade deal".

"We've got to a stage, alas, where they don't seem to want to progress a free trade deal", the Conservative Party leader said.

"We are prepared to continue negotiating".

EU leaders refused to back down on Friday despite the prime minister's warning, with Emmanuel Macron telling reporters that they were "not there simply to make the British prime minister happy" and European Council president Charles Michel warning: "What we said yesterday remains right today".

Earlier, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted that the Brussels negotiating team would go to London after the weekend to "intensify" talks. "There's a deal to be done, but there needs to be flexibility on both sides, energy and goodwill and political will on both sides".

"From the outset, we were totally clear that we wanted nothing more complicated than a Canada-style relationship, based on friendship and free trade", he said.

Officials in the European Union capital say Mr Barnier is still planning to travel to London on Monday for further discussions, despite warnings from Downing Street that he might not get the warmest of welcomes.

The pound oscillated to Brexit news on Friday, dropping a cent against the US dollar on Johnson's remarks but then rising and then falling again on his spokesman's comments.

Mr Johnson said: "It's clear that for whatever reason that after 45 years of membership they are not willing, unless there is some fundamental change of approach, to offer this country the same terms as Canada".

"We are ready to negotiate, we are ready to continue the negotiations and I hope it will be possible to make progress in the future", he said.

A no-deal Brexit would be a further complication for a British economy suffering under the strain of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many in Brussels remain "cautiously optimistic" some sort of deal can be agreed but any route there is now even harder to see.

There are about two weeks before the end of the EU's own October deadline to strike the deal. Like Australia, tariffs would be imposed under WTO rules, likely causing significant price rises.

"The state of our talks is not that we are stumbling over the issue of fishing, which is the British's tactical argument, but we're stumbling over everything".

But this week he said he would extend that limit after signs the Council might compromise, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the bloc needed to be "realistic" on fishing access.

"This of course means that we, too, will need to make compromises".

Johnson had repeatedly asserted that his preference is for a deal but that Britain could make a success of a no-deal scenario, which would throw £900 billion ($1.5 trillion Cdn) bilateral trade into uncertainty and could snarl the border, turning the southeastern county of Kent into a vast truck park.

"We are heading into very risky territory", said Ian Wright, the chief executive of Britain's Food and Drink Federation.

Most economists believe that a no-deal Brexit will deal a heavy blow to the UK's GDP, and also have a strongly negative long-term effect.

"He emphasised the need for mutual respect on these negotiations and I think he was given the necessary flexibility to continue with the negotiations on behalf of the EU Council to ensure a comprehensive, fair free trade deal between the United Kingdom and the European Union".

Altre relazioniGrafFiotech

Discuti questo articolo

Segui i nostri GIORNALE