The UK formally left the European Union back in January with the transition period in place until the end of the year. Despite delays to trade talks due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic – both sides have warned a deal must be completed by October for it to be ratified in time before December 31. However, talks are currently in stalemate with neither side backing down.
And Prime Minister Boris Johnson launched a fresh warning to the EU, insisting the UK would not be afraid of walking away from trade negotiations without a deal.
Today, a German government spokesperson has said a divorce deal between Britain and the EU can still be reached.
But they warned there is little time left and London must make concessions in the talks, according to Reuters.
The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has said negotiations on future relations were difficult.
But Mr Barnier declined to comment on reports Britain is planning to introduce legislation which could override parts of the withdrawal agreement.
It was reported today, ministers are planning new legislation which could override key parts of last year’s withdrawal agreement.
The move could change Northern Ireland customs arrangements intended to prevent a return to checks at the border with the Republic of Ireland.
In response to reports, Mr Johnson’s spokesman said: “We are fully committed to implementing the Withdrawal Agreement and the Northern Ireland protocol and we have already taken many practical steps to do.”
“The EU have been very clear about the timetable. I am too.
“There needs to be an agreement with our European friends by the time of the European Council on 15 October if it’s going to be in force by the end of the year.
“So there is no sense in thinking about timelines that go beyond that point.
“If we can’t agree by then, then I do not see that there will be a free trade agreement between us, and we should both accept that and move on.”
The UK’s chief Brexit negotiator David Frost echoed the Prime Minister’s comments and said the UK is not afraid of walking away with no deal in place.
He said: “Obviously, lots of preparation was done last year into a no deal, we are ramping up again and have been for some time under Michael Gove’s authority.
“I don’t think that we are scared of this at all.
“We want to get back the powers to control our borders and that is the most important thing.
“If we can reach an agreement that regulates trade like Canada’s, great.
“If we can’t, it will be an Australian-like trading agreement and we are fully ready for that.”
Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg
Published at Mon, 07 Sep 2020 23:00:00 +0000