British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has warned that the UK needs to “get ready” for a no-deal with the EU following a stalemate in negotiations.
With Thursday’s deadline to find agreement now passed, Johnson stated that there needed to be a “fundamental” shift in direction from the EU, if a trade agreement was to be found by the end of the year.
Johnson claimed that Brussels had “abandoned” any ambitions to find a solution but insisted that “we always knew there would be changes” once the transition period ended “whatever type of relationship we had”.
Johnson asserted that he was not walking away from any future discussions saying that “What we're saying to them is come here, come to us if there's some fundamental change of approach."
Both sides have previously suggested that they wished to continue to thrash out a deal, however, the EU has said that it is up to the UK to make the next move if an agreement is to be found.
The Prime Minister suggested that the EU was unwilling to compromise and consider the UK’s preferred option of a free trade deal similar to that enjoyed by Canada and that the only option would be to look for an ‘alternative’.
He said, “Given that they have refused to negotiate seriously for much of the last few months, I have concluded we should get ready for 1 January with arrangements more like Australia's based on simple principles of global free trade.
"So now is the time for our businesses to get ready, and for hauliers to get ready, and for travellers to get ready.”
"Unless there is some fundamental change of approach - to offer this country the same terms as Canada. And so with high hearts and complete confidence, we will prepare to embrace the alternative."
Negotiations recently reached an impasse on two key issues which are the rights and quotas on fishing UK waters and the government subsidies to businesses that create an unfair playing field.
Boris Johnson originally set a deadline to find a solution by the end of October, however, this date was brought forward to October 15 which has now passed.
Over the last 11 months and during the transition period, the UK has continued to be a part of the customs union and the EU’s single market.
However, if the two sides are unable to make concessions and come to an agreement, the UK will default to trading with the EU under WTO rules or what the PM calls, the “Australian solution”.
Image Credit: Number 10 Flickr
January 14, 2021