UK PM Johnson says Brexit trade deal 'up to European Union'

WION Web Team
London, United Kingdom Published: Oct 02, 2020, 09.10 PM(IST)

(File photo) Boris Johnson Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Controversy over the UK's new Internal Market Bill has thrown the tortuous Brexit process into a fresh crisis while disagreements over corporate subsidies, fisheries and ways to solve disputes are overshadowing parallel trade negotiations

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday threw the onus back on the European Union to unblock a trade deal and avoid an abrupt Brexit separation at the end of this year.

"I hope that we get a deal, it's up to our friends," he told the BBC, after the two sides concluded a week of talks with warnings that serious differences were holding up agreement by a mid-October deadline.

"They've done a (free trade) deal with Canada of a kind that we want, why shouldn't they do it with us?" Johnson said.

"We're so near, we've been (EU) members for 45 years. It's all there, it's just up to them," he added, insisting there was "every chance to get a deal" if the EU were "common-sensical".

The British government is concerned that time was running out for a post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union before a mid-October deadline.

Britain's chief negotiator David Frost said on Friday "outlines of an agreement are visible" in many areas but there was "limited progress" on fair competition and state subsidy rules, and a deal on fisheries looked "impossible" without EU movement.

"I am concerned that there is very little time now to resolve these issues ahead of the European Council (EU summit) on 15 October," he added.

Also read: Brexit: EU takes legal action against UK over Internal Market Bill

The European Union launched a legal case against the United Kingdom on Thursday for undercutting their earlier divorce deal and a senior UK minister said differences remained in talks on a post-Brexit trade agreement.

Controversy over the UK's new Internal Market Bill has thrown the tortuous Brexit process into a fresh crisis while disagreements over corporate subsidies, fisheries and ways to solve disputes are overshadowing parallel trade negotiations.

"We had invited our British friends to remove the problematic parts of their draft Internal Market Bill by the end of September," the head of the EU's executive Commission, Ursula von der Leyen said. "The deadline lapsed yesterday."

With London not budging, she said the Commission started a so-called infringement, an EU legal procedure against countries that violate the bloc's laws, while continuing to work towards implementing the divorce deal, or Withdrawal Agreement.

he United Kingdom says its nations cannot trade freely with each other after Brexit if there is no new trade deal with the EU without breaking the divorce deal provisions on the sensitive Irish border. A government spokesman said on Thursday it had made that clear.

The EU is adamant, however, that it would not implement any new UK deal as long as London undermines the divorce treaty.

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