Negotiations for a Brexit trade agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union essentially “over”, said Downing Street.
Unless there was willingness on the part of the EU to to discuss the detailed legal text of a partnership, there was “no point” in discussions continuing next week, No 10 said.
No. 10 is the official residence of the Prime Minister of the UK.
The UK had to “get ready” to conduct trade with the EU without an agreement starting next year, UK PM Boris Johnson said earlier.
While saying that it was ready to “intensify” discussions on a trade agreement, the EU said that it would not come to a deal “at any price”.
A deadline of Thursday this week was set by the UK to decide whether it continuing negotiations with the EU was worth the effort as there were disagreements on some key issues.
Next week, the chief negotiator for the EU, Michel Barnier, is set to com to London to continue talks but Downing Street has indicated that unless the EU shifted its position, the trip of Barnier would not serve any purpose.
“There is only any point in Michel Barnier coming to London next week if he’s prepared to address all the issues on the basis of a legal text in an accelerated way, without the UK required to make all the moves or to discuss the practicalities of travel and haulage,” the prime minister’s official spokesman said.
“If not there is no point in coming.”
“Trade talks are over. The EU have effectively ended them by saying they do not want to change their negotiating position,” he added.
There was unwillingness on the part of the EU to UK’s suggestion of making a serious consideration of continuing trade on the basis of a comprehensive free trade agreement in line with the one that currently exists between the EU and Canada, Johnson had suggested while speaking in Downing Street earlier.
Therefore the UK should be looking for an “alternative”, he had said which, according to Johnson could be based on the more limited set of agreements on trade between the EU and Australia.
However the four worded statement – “the talks are over”, from the prime minister’s spokesman on Friday was a shock to the market and businesses.
However, there could still be some hope of negotiations and the London trip of Michel Barnier next week might not be over yet.
According to analysts, the statement from PM Johnson was a clear signal to the EU that the onus for the next move was on it.
“I have concluded we should get ready for 1 January with arrangements more like Australia’s based on simple principles of global free trade. So now is the time for our businesses to get ready, and for hauliers to get ready, and for travellers to get ready. For whatever reason it is clear from the summit 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,” the UK prime minister said.
“And so with high hearts and complete confidence we will prepare to embrace the alternative,” he added.
(Adapted from BBC.com)