London (AP) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson expects Brussels and London to agree to a Brexit trade pact in the coming days.
However, if this is not successful, Britain is “very, very well prepared,” Johnson told the Sky News channel. Johnson confirmed in Friday’s interview that there could be a deal between the UK and the European Union in seven to 10 days. Consequently, a decision could be made next weekend.
From Ireland there were doubts on Saturday that the conversation between Johnson and von der Leyen could already bring a breakthrough. “Personally, I don’t expect much progress today,” said Thomas Byrne, head of European affairs at Ireland’s Foreign Office. There are still too many questions to be clarified, the politician told the British broadcaster BBC.
The transition phase of Brexit will end in less than two months. Then Britain leaves the EU internal market and the customs union, and without a deal there would be a severe economic breakdown. Both parties recently complained about significant differences in terms of competitive conditions, arbitration rules and fishing.
Talks between the EU and Britain were very slow for many months. Meanwhile, London even left the negotiating table. Brussels had originally stated that an agreement had to be in force by the end of October so that a treaty could still be ratified. The deadline passed, but the talks continued. Without a contract there is the risk of tariffs and other trade barriers.
In view of the corona pandemic, the pressure on London has increased considerably to reach an agreement with Brussels and thus avoid further economic damage. Critics accuse Johnson of being a bad crisis manager. It reacted too late and incorrectly to the pandemic and thus harmed the country.
In Britain, Johnson is also suspected of waiting for the outcome of the US presidential election. Donald Trump is a supporter of Brexit and a proponent of a trade deal between the United States and the United Kingdom. His Democratic challenger Joe Biden, however, is more attached to the EU: “Biden is not a fan of Brexit,” former British ambassador to the United States Kim Darroch told the BBC on Saturday. According to the media, if Biden wins, the chances of a trade pact between London and Brussels will increase. Much indicated Saturday that Trump would have to vacate the White House.
In the event of a no-deal Brexit, the consequences would be enormous: Thousands of trucks are forecast to get stuck due to border controls in the Dover area and many supermarket and pharmacy shelves will be empty. EU states would also be affected. Tens of thousands of jobs are at risk, the Federation of German Industry (BDI) recently warned. Internal political upheavals threaten Britain. Scotland’s desire for independence could only grow.