EU Brexit contingency plans published
No further movement after meeting between EU Commission President and UK Prime Minister
Negotiations extended until Sunday
EU Brexit contingency plans have been published this morning outlining how the EU expects to continue its trade relationship with the UK in the likely event that no trade deal will be secured by the end of the month.
The European Commission has said that while it “will continue to do its utmost to reach a mutually beneficial agreement with the U.K., there is now significant uncertainty whether a deal will be in place on 1 January, 2021.”
The EU’s decision to publicly release these documents after a meeting between EU Commissions President, Ursula von der Leyen, and UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, on Wednesday, December 9, may demonstrate that the EU now firmly believe that a deal cannot be reached in either the time frame left or be ratified in time even if one can be arranged by Sunday, the date to which negotiations have been extended to allow a deal to potentially be struck.
Mr Johnson’s failure to secure further concessions from the EU at his Wednesday evening meeting with Ms von der Leyen will be seen by many in the UK as a further failure in his premiership however there is a blanket expectation that the UK government will use his attempt to reason with the EU at the meeting as a further excuse to place the blame for a deal not being achieved firmly at the feet of their EU counterparts.
The EU contingency plan has been drafted to ensure that there are protections in place to avoid the disaster of a cliff-edge after a no-deal Brexit.
The plan contains a range of measures to guarantee that air and road connectivity between the EU and the U.K. and fishing access continue in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The Commission has confirmed that the aim is “to cater for the period during which there is no agreement in place. If no agreement enters into application, they will end after a fixed period.” However, the Commission has not confirmed exactly what they expect this “fixed period” to be.
In an interview with BBC News, Dominic Raab highlighted that preparations would still continue for the eventuality of a deal however he did also confirm that there was a need for “a point of finality” in the negotiations, despite the outcome.
"We need a point of finality"
On #BBCBreakfast we asked Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab what happens if EU trade talks break down on Sunday and the UK faces a no deal exit.https://t.co/BqKlEybPKj pic.twitter.com/Jm2TuEDhjo
— BBC Breakfast (@BBCBreakfast) December 10, 2020
Ursula von der Leyen mirrored the governments sentiments that a deal was being sought however clarified the EU position on the need for a clear contingency plan, which has been released today.
She took to Twitter to say, “Negotiations are still ongoing, but the end of the transition is near. There is no guarantee that if & when an agreement is found it can enter into force on time. We have to be prepared including for not having a deal in place on 1 January. Today we present contingency measures”
Negotiations are still ongoing but the end of the transition is near. There is no guarantee that if & when an agreement is found it can enter into force on time. We have to be prepared including for not having a deal in place on 1 January. Today we present contingency measures ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/FQ4Urn9YUC
— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) December 10, 2020
Many across the political spectrum have taken to social media to berate the government and to openly discuss the ongoing disaster of the Brexit negotiations. The mounting pressure to get a deal for the benefit of businesses and the public either side of the channel is now beyond paramount and many are expressing their fear that a no-deal scenario could bring.
Prior to leaving for Brussels the Prime Minister stuck a pre-emptive positive note on Twitter saying, “On my way to Brussels to meet @EU_Commission President @vonderleyen”
He continued, “A good deal is still there to be done. But whether we agree trading arrangements resembling those of Australia or Canada, the United Kingdom will prosper mightily as an independent nation”
However, Boris Johnson has not taken the opportunity to update the public on his social media after his meeting in Brussels did not bear the fruit he had earlier inferred at Prime Ministers Questions in the House of Commons. Instead he took to Twitter to herald the new £17.6bn trade deal that has been secured between the UK and Singapore.
He tweeted, “Welcome news that we’ve secured a fantastic trade agreement with Singapore Flag of United Kingdom Flag of Singapore”
He continued, “This is an important part of our vision of the UK trading with a network of dynamic nations across #AsiaPacific”
“Well done @trussliz & all those involved in the negotiations.”
Welcome news that we’ve secured a fantastic trade agreement with Singapore 🇬🇧🇸🇬
This is an important part of our vision of the UK trading with a network of dynamic nations across #AsiaPacific
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) December 10, 2020
While Boris Johnson appears to continue to bury his head in the sand to the reality of the ongoing difficulties in the EU/UK trade negotiations, Steve Peers, a professor of EU law, has taken to Twitter to publish a useful thread which explains the EU’s contingency plans in detail.
EU 'no deal' unilateral contingency measures published – to deal with aviation, air safety, road haulage, fisheries
press release – https://t.co/wbkPV9yO30
legal texts – https://t.co/0uYtt2ly5h
— Steve Peers (@StevePeers) December 10, 2020
Keir Starmer had already taken to Twitter after his inquisition of Boris Johnson at Prime Ministers Questions on the afternoon of Wednesday, December 9, to say, “Boris Johnson’s incompetence is holding Britain back.”
There is little doubt that both he and the Labour party will further jump on the Prime Ministers apparent incompetence after the further government failings during this fundamentally important time.
— Keir Starmer (@Keir_Starmer) December 9, 2020
However, the Prime Minister is not just being condemed for his inability to have sewn up a deal with the EU, he is also being preemptively condemned for selling out the UK to get a Brexit deal.
After an interview with Sky News in which he proclaimed that Boris Johnson was accepting to concede too much to the EU already saying, “If we continue down this route and this is a sell out, don’t think we are just going to walk away, because we’re not.”
He then took to Twitter to express his frustrations, simply tweeting, “We should have left four years ago.”
We should have left four years ago.
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) December 10, 2020
It is unclear how this current impasse will play out but what is clear is that the EU isn’t going to wait around to simply find out and are actively working to ensure that the remaining 27 member states of the EU will be protected regardless.
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“EU Brexit contingency plans have been published to prepare for a no-deal Brexit”
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