Boris Johnson warns Britain to prepare for no-deal Brexit

Brexit Updates

Boris Johnson warned Britain to prepare for a no-deal Brexit, telling the nation there was “a strong possibility” that the talks would fail and that Brussels wanted to keep the country “locked in the orbit of the United States. ‘EU’.

Mr Johnson’s grim assessment of EU-UK trade talks came as Brussels published contingency plans to keep planes in the air and trucks on the move in the event of no deal when the UK transition period for Brexit ends on December 31.

Although both sides have given negotiators until Sunday to try to achieve a breakthrough, the mood of pessimism is mounting. An ally of Mr Johnson said: ‘They are not moving at all. Damn it.

Downing Street said the cabinet fully supported Mr Johnson in a meeting on Thursday. The Prime Minister warned after the meeting that “the deal on the table is really not good for the UK at the moment”.

Mr Johnson’s allies say French President Emmanuel Macron has stepped up the EU’s demands. “They brought back the idea of ​​equivalence between the UK and the EU,” the Prime Minister said in a TV clip from Downing Street.

“Basically, this means that whatever new laws they pass, we will have to follow them, or face penalties, sanctions, tariffs, etc.,” he added. “It’s a way to keep the UK locked in the EU’s regulatory orbit.”

If Mr Johnson follows through on his threat of no deal – he prefers to call it the ‘Australian’ option – tariffs will be applied on UK / EU trade on January 1. An acrimonious divorce is likely to further chaos at the border.

Mr Johnson insisted he was ready to travel to Brussels, Paris or Berlin to try to strike a deal and had told his negotiator David Frost to go further in talks with his counterpart Michel Barnier before the last deadline of Sunday.

The pound reacted little to Mr Johnson’s statement, having fallen earlier in the day. It remained 0.8% weaker at just over $ 1.33 against the dollar, and 1% weaker against the euro, at € 1.0960.

The consensus among analysts and investors is that a last-minute deal can still be done. Without one, the currency is likely to fall.

Cabinet ministers have confirmed they are “holding on tight”, but some Tory MPs have warned of serious economic and political risks if Mr Johnson fails to reach a deal.

Tobias Ellwood, Chairman of the UK Defense Select Committee, said: “The fallout will be colossal, not only economically – in addition to Covid – but also in terms of reputation with our European allies and the United States. United.

“We cannot seriously rekindle the special relationship and work with a reinvigorated United States to deal with growing global threats if we cannot establish a working relationship with our closest neighbors.”

Andrew Mitchell, former UK secretary for international development, said: “There shouldn’t be a deal at all costs. We are a proud independent nation. But no one should have any doubts about the economic consequences of proceeding without a deal on January 1 of next year. “

Previously, the European Commission had issued contingency plans to keep planes in flight, trucks moving and avoid further chaos if trade talks with Britain fail, warning of an “important uncertainty ”on the fate of the Brexit negotiations.

The committee adopted the proposals on Thursday, temporarily ensuring that airlines could continue to operate their normal routes between the EU and the UK and that carriers could continue to cross the Channel after Britain exits the market unique on January 1st.

Brussels is also proposing that the EU and the UK guarantee fishermen a one-year grace period to continue accessing the waters of the other.

“While the committee will continue to do its utmost to reach a mutually beneficial deal with the UK, there is now significant uncertainty as to whether an agreement is in place on January 1, 2021,” said the European executive in a press release.

Ursula von der Leyen, chairman of the committee, said on Thursday that the bloc had a responsibility “to be prepared for all eventualities”.

A UK government spokesperson said: “We will discuss practical arrangements with the EU. We will be looking at the details very closely, ”while noting that Britain was already advanced in its own preparations.

The committee’s announcements did not cover financial services, arguing that market access in this area does not depend on trade negotiations but on separate work on regulatory approvals. Brussels has not yet specified what market rights the City of London can expect.

The committee warned national governments not to undermine the EU’s position that only the bare minimum of emergency measures should be put in place. He also called on capitals to use their collective influence to fight for EU interests in a no-deal scenario.

“In any case, the EU collectively has stronger bargaining power than each member state acting alone,” said the committee. “This bargaining power benefits all member states. It should be used to ensure a level playing field between the EU and the UK.

Freight trucks line up on the main road to the port of Dover on Thursday, one of the main routes to Europe © AFP via Getty Images


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