US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — The European Union fears that the UK government deliberately slows down the negotiations on a Brexit trade deal and may secretly seek to withdraw from trade agreements without first agreeing on a new deal, writes Business Insider.
The UK should exit Europe’s trade and customs arrangements at the end of 2020, despite increased pressure from business groups and opposition political parties to extend the transition after Brexit.
However, the government of Boris Johnson insists that the country comes out, regardless of whether a new trade deal is concluded.
The tough stance in which the European Union was offered several concessions made some politicians in Brussels wonder if the British government wants to sign a new trade agreement until 2021.
“The gulf is wide and deep,” a source in the EU close to the negotiations said Business Insider. According to him, more and more officials in Europe are wondering if the British government wants to make a deal.
This abyss has recently been illustrated by a new exchange of letters between the UK’s chief negotiator, David Frost, and his EU counterpart Michel Barnier.
Frost, chosen by Johnson to lead the British side during the Brexit talks, said that Britain was “puzzled” by the EU approach, which he recently called “ideological,” and that the trade deal Brussels was proposing was unfair.
Anand Menon, director of Changing Europe, a UK think tank, said he doesn’t think there will be a breakthrough during this week’s talks, despite being the last full round before the meeting later this month, where both sides will evaluate progress.
“None of the parties is ready to make concessions this week. Both sides have come to terms with a similar summit where everyone is unhappy but no one wants to leave,” he told Business Insider.
Raul Ruperal, who was Europe’s chief adviser to former British Prime Minister Theresa May, said that failure to make significant progress towards the end of the round of talks this week could jeopardize all negotiations.
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