France Urges UK to Seal Brexit Deal with EU by Early November, Yet Warns Against ‘Bad Concessions’
CC0Europe13:21 GMT 11.10.2020Get short URLby Svetlana EkimenkoTopic: Life After Brexit: What’s Next After UK Leaves EU
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During talks with French President Emmanuel Macron on 10 October Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that he was committed to exploring “every avenue” to achieve a post-Brexit deal, but added the UK was ready to end the transition period on Australia-style conditions if an agreement fails to be found.
The European Union and the UK must hammer out an agreement shaping their post-Brexit relationship by early November, France’s European affairs minister, Clement Beaune, urged on Sunday on FranceInfo radio.
Nevertheless, he emphasised that the EU bloc would not agree to a “bad deal” just to avoid a no-deal scenario.
Earlier, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson discussed the post-Brexit trade deal with French President Emmanuel Macron in a telephone conversation on 10 October.
Christian HartmannBritain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomes France’s President Emmanuel Macron at a NATO leaders summit in Watford, Britain December 4, 2019
Though acknowledging that he would “explore every avenue” in negotiations with Brussels, Johnson pointed to remaining obstacles that were hampering progress. These tricky issues needed to be dealt with in the coming days, said the Prime Minister.
Hurdles in Post-Brexit Parley
There are a few particularly contentious issues in the talks between the UK and the EU.
With regard to fishing quotas, the EU wants its boats to enjoy access to UK fishing waters whereas the UK says its waters should be kept “first and foremost for British boats”. Several EU members, such as France and the Netherlands, demanded the UK effectively remain part of the EU Common Fisheries Policy, meaning that three-quarters of fish stocks in the British maritime exclusive economic zone are caught by foreign boats.
Other stumbling blocks have been the issue of governance, and the so-called level playing field, a trade-policy term for a set of common rules and standards that prevent businesses in one country from gaining a competitive advantage over rivals in other countries.
AP Photo / Owen HumphreysA flotilla of fishing boats sail by the Gateshead Millennium bridge
It is these “hurdles” in negotiations that Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen instructed their chief negotiators David Frost and Michel Barnier to “work intensively” on ironing out, during a phone call on 3 October.
Boris Johnson has set a deadline of 15 October, timed to an EU summit, for agreeing a deal, but Brussels has been angling for more concessions before entering the final phase of talks.
REUTERS / POOL NewFILE PHOTO: European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and British Prime Minister’s Europe adviser David Frost 5 are seen at start of the first round of post -Brexit trade deal talks between the EU and the United Kingdom, in Brussels, Belgium March 2, 2020. Oliver Hoslet/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
Johnson has repeatedly said that although he wants a deal like one struck between the EU and Canada, the UK was ready to leave without a deal.
The UK exited the EU in January, but remains under the present EU trade terms.
In the event that no trade deal is reached before the transition period expires on 31 December, the World Trade Organisation’s rules for both sides come into effect from the start of 2021. This extends to customs tariffs and full border checks for UK goods entering the EU.