European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has announced that Brexit negotiations will carry on beyond today’s deadline, adding that it was “responsible at this point in time to go the extra mile,” after talks with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Today’s deadline was the last in a series of self-imposed cutoff dates, as the end of the UK’s transition period on December 31 is drawing ever closer. The EU’s Michel Barnier and the UK’s David Frost had started talks just after dawn in a bid to reach agreement in negotiations, which have been running for almost a year. Frost reportedly left the talks after 1 1/2 hours to return to the UK diplomatic mission in Brussels.
The UK insists that it should trade with the bloc with as few restraints as possible. The EU demands that Britain stick to EU rules to ensure fair competition. The UK claims the EU wants to thwart Britain’s status as an independent and sovereign nation. The EU, in turn, fears that Britain could drastically lower its social and environmental standards, thus becoming a low-regulation economic rival hovering at its margins.
Without a deal, the UK will have to trade with the EU under World Trade Organization rules — a system British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has euphemistically called the “Australian” model. Johnson, who has said it was “very, very likely” that negotiations will fail, insists the UK will thrive whether or not a deal is reached. But if no deal is reached, chaos looms on January 1st.
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