The Prime Minister announces “Australia-Style” relationship with the EU.
Last month, Boris Johnson suggested that both the UK and EU should walk away from the negotiations and prepare for a no-deal divorce if there was no agreement by the summit on 15th October.
During the summit, the EU stated their determination to have a partnership with the United Kingdom on the basis of the negotiating directives of 25 February 2020, in particular regarding the level playing field on governance and fisheries.
Johnson has accused the European Union of abandoning the idea of a free trade deal as “there doesn’t seem to be any progress coming from Brussels”.
Therefore, the Prime Minister announced today that Britain will be pursuing an “Australia-style” relationship with the European Union, as they have “refused to negotiate seriously over the last few months”.
Australia has no comprehensive trade deal with the EU and does far less business with Brussels than the UK. A no-deal split would see the EU impose tariffs on UK goods, with businesses warning this would damage British firms.
The UK’s Chief Negotiator, Lord Frost, told his counterpart, Michel Barnier, that there was no basis for continuing talks next week unless the EU had a fundamental change of approach.
Mr Johnson stated: “From the outset, we were totally clear that we wanted nothing more complicated than a Canada-style relationship, based on friendship and free trade.”
Adding: “To judge by the latest EU summit in Brussels, that won’t work for our EU partners. They want the continued ability to control our legislative freedom, our fisheries, in a way that is obviously unacceptable to an independent country.”
The Prime Minister has warned businesses to “get ready” for a no-deal Brexit and has urged people to “embrace” the plan with “high hearts”, vowing that the UK will “prosper mightily”.
Nigel Farage, the Brexit Party leader, has shown support for the Government’s approach, tweeting: “Boris now reaching the right solution.”
A canada-style deal was always impossible given the withdrawal agreement. Boris now reaching the right solution. https://t.co/TsT6sZbKUg
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) October 16, 2020
Brexiteers have celebrated the news of a no-deal outcome on social media, with one commenting: “It had to happen and better sooner than later. At least the EU now know the score.”
Labour MP Angela Rayner took to Twitter to say that the PM had failed to deliver a trade agreement:
Prime Minister, it's time to take responsibility for your broken promises and your failure to deliver.
The responsibility lies with you and you alone. https://t.co/A4gzkwfNiK
— Angela Rayner (@AngelaRayner) October 16, 2020
However, there remains scepticism in Brussels that Mr Johnson will actually deliver on his threat to pull the plug on the negotiations.
Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, responded to Mr Johnson’s announcement by claiming formal trade talks will still go ahead in London next week.
She tweeted: “EU-UK talks: the EU continues to work for a deal, but not at any price. As planned, our negotiation team will go to London next week to intensify these negotiations.”