Boris Johnson: Britons Should Prepare for No-Deal Brexit
The United Kingdom must prepare for a departure from the European Union without a trade deal. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said this after Brexit negotiator David Frost was already disappointed in the European attitude in the negotiations on Thursday.
If the EU does not “fundamentally” change its stance, the UK will prepare for an “Australian-model” trade relationship, Johnson said in a brief press conference.
Australia and the EU currently have no agreement on free trade. When asked whether Johnson is now definitely walking away from further negotiations with the EU with this announcement, the prime minister answered evasively.
Johnson initially set last Thursday as a deadline by which there should be an agreement on a new trade deal. If not, he would pull the plug on the negotiations.
At the end of their summit, the 27 EU leaders called on the British government to “take the necessary steps to facilitate an agreement”, otherwise the no-deal scenario would materialize.
The United Kingdom left the European Union on January 31 but is still bound by most of the country block rules in the transition phase until the turn of the year. If there is no agreement on the future relationship before December 31, reciprocal trade will revert to the very basic rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Import duties will then be reintroduced for many goods at the border, and customs controls are expected to cause traffic jams for trucks at the border. In principle, trade between Australia and the EU also comes down to those WTO rules.
Johnson would prefer a trade agreement such as the EU has concluded with Canada but now concludes “that this will not work”. Essential points of contention remain access to UK waters for fishermen from the EU Member States and the so-called level playing field.
The latter means that British companies must adhere to European rules such as the environment, competition and workers’ rights if they want to maintain free access to the EU market. This is a sensitive issue in London, because the United Kingdom is still bound by EU rules that it wanted to get rid of with Brexit.