EU asks Britain to ‘Put Cards on the Table’ over Trade Deal

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Charles Michel, the President of the European Council, stated that it was time for the United Kingdom to put its cards on the table regarding the trade deal to be followed post-Brexit. The comment was tweeted by the European Council President after he had spoken to the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on call earlier on Wednesday. Even though last week, formal talks between the European Union and Britain came to an end, officials are still trying to reach some form of agreement. According to reports, the Prime Minister had said during the call that whatever deal they make, it should be a reflection of what the people had voted for when they supported Brexit.

According to Mr. Johnson, the citizens of Britain and businesses all needed certainty very quickly regarding the nature of the UK’s relationship with the EU in the future. Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office Minister, had said earlier that the negotiations had given him some cause for optimism. However, Lord David Frost, the chief negotiator for the United Kingdom, said that the two teams had ‘big gaps’, which were mostly related to fishing rules and government subsidies for businesses. He added that the former was the most difficult issue that was yet to be finalized.

It has been reiterated by both sides that they need to come to an agreement this month, so it can be signed off before the so-called transition period comes to an end. During this time, the United Kingdom has continued to follow the rules set forth by the European Union while negotiations continue. This transition period will come to an end on 31st December 2020. On Wednesday, speaking to a Lords Committee, Lord Frost supported an earlier statement that had been made by the Prime Minister. He had stated that they could just walk away from negotiations if no agreement is made by the 15th of October.

In case there is no deal in place when the transition period ends, the UK will have to follow the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to trade with the EU. Critics fear that these rules could end up damaging the economy. According to Lord Frost, the government wouldn’t have a problem in trading with the bloc this way because they believe they will prosper by doing so. But, he added that the UK would prefer to have a deal in place, if possible. 

Mr. Michel said in his tweet that the EU also wanted a deal, but this didn’t mean at any cost. A video call also took place between the President European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday. Both had agreed that finding a post-Brexit deal was important. They also said that there had been some progress in the final formal talks, but there were ‘significant gaps’ and chief negotiators were instructed to try and bridge them. The extended talks will be taking place this week in London and will continue in Brussels next week.