UK ready to quit EU on ‘Australia terms’ if no Brexit deal, PM Johnson says
LONDON: Britain will be ready to quit its transitional arrangements with the European Union “on Australia terms” if no deal on their future relationship is reached, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told his Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki on Saturday.
Britain left the bloc on Jan. 31. A transition period, during which Britain remains in the European single market and customs union, expires on Dec. 31 and pressure is mounting to agree a free trade deal before then.
With the two sides still far apart, a round of “intensified negotiations” is due to start next week.
“He (Johnson) said the UK would negotiate constructively but equally would be ready to leave the transition period on Australia terms if agreement could not be reached,” Johnson’s Downing Street office said in a statement.
Australia does not have a comprehensive trade agreement with the EU. Much of EU-Australia trade follows default World Trade Organisation rules, though specific agreements are in place for certain goods.
Britain has to accept weaker economic ties
with EU: Merkel
Britain will have to "accept the consequences" of having weaker economic ties with the European Union because of Brexit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Saturday.
Merkel hardened the tone from Berlin as Germany and its EU partners strive to draw up an agreement on future relations between Brussels and London after Britain's departure from the bloc.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants to be able to define the scope of those relations but "thereafter he will of course have to accept the consequences -- that is, an economy less tightly linked" with its continental neighbours, Merkel said in an interview with the Europa newspaper alliance.
After leaving the EU, Britain and Brussels have been working on establishing new trade links to come into force once a post-exit transition period expires at year's end.
Germany is meanwhile to take over the EU's rotating presidency for six months from July 1.
"We must get away from the idea that it is we who define what the United Kingdom may wish," indicated Merkel, who has consistently sought to help bring about an outcome which avoids a hard Brexit. - Reuters/AFP