As the deadline for the conclusion of post-Brexit trade talks fast approaches, the UK and the European Union (EU) appear to be edging further apart.
In the latest development, European Council President, Charles Michel, has issued what amounts to an informal ultimatum by warning the UK it is time to “put its card on the table” over a trade deal.
Michel tweeted the comment after a telephone call with Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, on Wednesday (October 07).
— Charles Michel (@eucopresident) October 7, 2020 ">http://
A Downing Street spokesperson said the PM had “reiterated that any deal must reflect what the British people voted for [in the 2016 Brexit referendum]”.
The spokesperson added that the PM had made clear during the call that British “businesses and citizens needed certainty very soon on the terms of our future relationship”.
Johnson has previously said that the UK would abandon negotiations on a trade deal if an agreement isn’t reached by October 15.
The formal date for securing a deal is December 31, and in the event of both sides failing to reach an agreement the UK will be forced to trade with the EU on World Trade Organization terms.
The PM’s hardline stance on negotiations, and specifically his insistence on the October 15 deadline, was confirmed by the UK’s chief Brexit negotiator, Lord David Frost, to a House of Lords Committee on Wednesday (October 07).
Frost also told the House of Lords that “big gaps” remained between the two sides, primarily on government subsidies for businesses and fishing rules.