British Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants to continue to do everything he can to reach a trade agreement with the European Union. He repeated this on Saturday during a telephone conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron. The deadline Johnson himself had set for the negotiations will expire in a few days.
According to a spokesman for Johnson, he told Macron that “an agreement is best for both sides.” But even if the talks fail, there cannot be an extension of the current transition period, which ends December 31, Johnson also said. Until the end of this year, the United Kingdom will remain part of the European customs union and the internal market, even though the country is no longer an EU member state. If no agreement between the UK and the EU on bilateral trade and other relations from 2021 onwards, the ‘economic Brexit’ threatens to cause a shock on both sides of the Channel.
In order to get an agreement approved by the end of this year, the negotiations must be concluded in a few weeks at the latest. However, Johnson himself has set October 15 as a deadline, when European leaders gather in Brussels for a European summit. That’s in just five days.
The negotiations between Brussels and London are anything but smooth. State aid rules, dispute settlement and fisheries are the main focal points. In addition, the European Commission started an infringement procedure against the UK for failing to comply with its obligations arising from the Brexit agreement at the end of 2019. However, it is expected that if a new trade deal is reached, this procedure will be buried.