The EU’s chief negotiator has said the EU will ‘continue negotiating in good faith today’, despite Boris Johnson telling German chancellor Angela Merkel he was prepared to walk away at the end of the year without a deal.
Downing Street said the PM had told Merkel that the UK ‘would be ready’ to leave the transition period at the end of the year without a trade deal with the EU if one cannot be brokered
A Downing Street spokesman said: ‘On the future relationship, the prime minister underlined the UK’s commitment to working hard to find an early agreement out of the intensified talks process.
‘He also noted that the UK equally would be ready to leave the transition period on Australia terms if an agreement could not in the end be reached.’
Johnson has been adamant that he will not allow the discussions to drag on into the autumn, arguing that British businesses and citizens need certainty on the way forward before then.
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If the two sides are unable to reach a deal by the end of the current Brexit transition period at the end of the year, it will mean Britain leaving the single market and the customs union without any agreement on future access.
But Michel Barnier said the negotiators are ‘working hard for a fair agreement’ with the UK, including on the key sticking points of fisheries and the ‘level playing field’ arrangements designed to prevent the UK undercutting the EU by lowering standards and increasing state subsidies.