Brexit negotiations have been at a stalemate for months, with both the UK and the European Union refusing to depart from their original mandate for the talks. EU negotiator Michel Barnier on Friday said the last round of talks this week had yet again failed to result in any progress as he suggested the UK is attempting to “backtrack” from the terms of the political declaration struck in December. But speaking to Channel 4 News, Tory MP Andrew Bridgen appeared to suggest Brussels is waiting to see whether London could ultimately request an extension before giving up their firm stance.
Mr Bridgen said: “We’re moving to the deadline of July 1, which is the last date an extension could be asked for.
“I think once we’ve passed that, the EU will realise that we are leaving on December 31, at the end of the transition period.
“We’re offering them tariff and quota-free trade as we’ve got at the moment.
“But I don’t think we’re going to get any sense from the EU until all hope is extinguished we’re going to ask for an extension.”
The UK has until the start of July to lodge a formal request for an extension of the transition period that is currently scheduled to end on December 31, 2020.
If an extension is requested and granted, the UK would then have up to two years to come to an agreement with Brussels on the future trade relationship between Britain and the EU27.
Boris Johnson has repeatedly rejected suggestions he will ask for an extension, insisting the whole Brexit process will end as expected at the end of the year.
Mr Johnson is due to meet with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel at the end of June to discuss the state of the negotiations.
“It is – and it will remain for us – the only valid reference, the only relevant precedent in this negotiation, as it was agreed by both sides.”
“Yet, round after round, our British counterparts seek to distance themselves from this common basis.”
UK negotiator David Frost however fiercely rebuked any accusation Britain was at fault for the state of the negotiations.
Mr Frost said: “We need to conclude this negotiation in good time to enable people and businesses to have certainty about the trading terms that will follow the end of the transition period at the end of this year, and, if necessary, to allow ratification of any agreements reached.
“For our part, we are willing to work hard to see whether at least the outline of a balanced agreement, covering all issues, can be reached soon.
“Any such deal must, of course, accommodate the reality of the UK’s well-established position on the so-called ‘level playing field’, on fisheries, and the other difficult issues.”
Published at Sat, 06 Jun 2020 07:23:00 +0000