(Prensa Latina) The talks between the United Kingdom and the European Union (EU) on a post-Brexit trade agreement hang in the balance today, after recent mutual accusations of inflexibility, and new threats from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
As far as we are concerned, the talks are over, a British government spokesman said the day before, a few hours after the prime minister announced on television that the United Kingdom should prepare for a divorce on bad terms with the EU from 1 from January.
The president had given until October 15 to sign the free trade agreement, but then said he would wait for the completion of the EU summit on the eve in Brussels.
In his brief address to the nation, Johnson accused European leaders of opposing Brussels and London signing a trade pact similar to the one the 27-nation alliance signed with Canada in 2017.
Apparently, our EU partners do not want that, but want to continue to control our legislative freedom and our fishing, in a way that is obviously unacceptable for an independent country, he said.
From Brussels, the president of the European Commission, Úrsula von der Leyen, who a few days ago had agreed with Johnson to intensify negotiations, told him that the bloc will continue working to reach an agreement, “but not at any price.”
As planned, our negotiating team will go to London next week to intensify these negotiations, said von der Leyen, who was apparently unimpressed by Johnson’s new bravado.
The EU believes, however, that the British government must show more flexibility and creativity to be able to solve the most complicated issues and seal a deal before the end of the so-called transition period at the end of the year.
Although the United Kingdom left the European bloc on January 31 as part of the Brexit process, both parties gave themselves 11 months to negotiate the terms of their future commercial relationship.
If a pact is not signed before the end of the year, trade between the two former allies will have to be governed by the rules of the World Trade Organization, which entails the application of tariffs and customs controls for British goods entering the European zone, and vice versa.