by Andrew Trunsky
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned that a potential no-deal break from the European Union is likely unless the bloc had a “fundamental” change in position.
The European Union and the United Kingdom have struggled to strike a trade deal amid their negotiations, leading each side to blame the other as the end-of-year deadline approaches, the Associated Press reported.
The U.K. is hoping to reach a deal similar to what the EU has with Canada, which consists of few tariffs and quotas on goods traded between the two, according to BBC.
Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said that the EU will still negotiate toward a deal, “but not at any price,” insisting that the U.K. shift its position in order to reach a compromise, according to the AP.
The U.K. had originally floated forgoing a deal if one was not reached by the end of the EU summit, which ends Friday, but Johnson backtracked, saying that he sought a “fundamental change of approach” from the organization.
“As far as I can see they have abandoned the idea of a free trade deal… Unless there is a fundamental change of approach we are going to go for the Australia solution,” he said.
Australia has no free trade deal with the EU, meaning that trade between the two countries includes heavy tariffs and other restrictions. Economists predict that such a scenario would be devastating for U.K. businesses, given that the EU is the country’s largest trading partner and businesses have already been hit by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Johnson’s point was echoed by Von der Leyen, who said that “as planned, our negotiation team will go to London next week to intensify these negotiations,” the AP reported.
The U.K. officially left the EU on Jan. 31, but remains part of its economic structure through the end of the year. Talks have continued throughout much of 2020, but both sides concede that a deal must be agreed upon before Nov. 1 if it is to be ratified by 2021, per the AP.
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Andrew Trunsky is a reporter for the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Photo “Boris Johnson” by UK Department for International Development. CC BY 2.0.