‚No-Deal Brexit‘ Looming: EU Taking Tough Line on UK That May Break Law in ‘Limited Way’

Written by | Wednesday, September 9th, 2020

Ongoing Brexit talks between Brussels and London are threatened amid reports that United Kingdom is attempting to renege on divorce treaty terms with the European Union as the head of the government‘s legal department has quit in protest. With the UK headed into a fresh round of Brexit trade talks, Boris Johnson’s administration has acknowledged it could break international law but only in a “limited way”. While calling for calm amid heightened tensions in the post-Brexit trade talks, the head of the European Council of EU leaders Charles Michel has also warned the UK that its decision to “leave the club” means “there are consequences”.
Michel has also defended the firm line taken by the EU over the UK’s future access to EU markets, while Johnson has, at the same time, threatened to pull the UK out of talks on the future relationship unless a deal is struck by mid-October. A transition period keeping most current arrangements in place expires by the end of this year. Mounting fears of a no-deal exit has sent pound tumbling on Tuesday (8 September), as the UK government’s legal department head, Jonathan Jones, quit in disagreement with a plan to overwrite parts of the Withdrawal Agreement treaty signed earlier in January. The UK left the bloc on 31 January but talks on new trade terms have made little headway as the clock ticks down to an 15 October deadline, and then the end of the status-quo transition arrangement in late December.
Despite the prospect of a messy divorce between the EU’s €13,5 trillion and the UK’s €2,5 trillion economies, observers expect that the latest round of negotiations in London are likely to be tough, with London saying Brussels has failed to understand it is now independent – especially when it comes to state aid and fishing. “We need to see more realism from the EU about our status as an independent country,” said David Frost, the UK’s top Brexit negotiator, adding that the UK was ramping up no-deal preparations. The EU, weary of wrangling, said London needs to provide specifics that the UK cannot make its own rules and have preferential access to its markets. “A disorderly Brexit would not be good for Europe, it would be a real disaster for Britain and its citizens,” German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz says.

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Asia-Pacific · GLOBAL EUROPE

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