A spokesman for British Prime Minister “Boris Johnson” said that talks aimed at reaching a trade agreement to regulate the UK’s exit from the European Union have already ended. He explained, “The trade talks ended. The European Union effectively ended them by declaring that it was not ready to change the negotiating position.”
On the other hand, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced that negotiators for the European Union will visit London next week to continue talks on the post-Brexit phase, despite Britain’s threat to abandon negotiations.
“As planned, our negotiating team will head to London next week to intensify these negotiations,” von der Leyen said in a tweet. A European source confirmed that the United Kingdom had agreed to continue the talks, which was not confirmed by Britain. The European Union negotiator, Michel Barnier, proposed Thursday to extend the talks after he briefed the leaders of the bloc on their latest developments. Barnier is expected to speak with his British counterpart David Frost to discuss next steps, if any.
The British Prime Minister had confirmed earlier that he was ready to implement “Brexit” without an agreement unless there was a fundamental change on the part of the European Union in the talks.
The Brexit transition period is set to end at the end of this year, amid relentless efforts to avoid the United Kingdom leaving the bloc without an agreement regulating trade relations between the two sides.
European leaders asked Britain to make concessions on fair trade rules to break the deadlock in post-Brexit negotiations, which sparked anger in London and threatens the fate of the talks.
The leaders of the 27 member states in Brussels expressed cautious optimism, but they urged the EU institutions and the member states in their written conclusions to redouble preparations for a “no deal” British exit. In an unusual tone, Britain’s chief negotiator, David Frost, said that his country was “disappointed with the conclusions of the European summit” on post-Brexit trade negotiations.
The atmosphere was tense, despite the openness shown by the Europeans to make concessions in the file of marine fishing, which is one of the most important red lines for them. The insistence of France and other European countries in the north of the continent on the right to operate in UK waters represents a stumbling block in the negotiations so far. Barnier said the talks could continue until the end of October, which is the approximate date set by the European Union to leave enough time for parliament to ratify the agreement before the Brexit transition period ends on December 31. In the absence of an agreement, the rules of the World Trade Organization will be applied.
The two parties stress their readiness to implement these rules, and that they prefer them to sign a bad agreement, but experts warn of negative consequences if resorted to. Europe’s concerns are related to three basic issues, namely the rules for fair competition, how to monitor their application, and guarantee the right to fish in British waters.
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