The United Kingdom will finally leave the European Union on 31 January after 47 years. What will the country's future look like after Brexit? The next 11 months will provide a strong indication.
Last week, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned that his country was prepared to leave the single market bloc at the end of the year without a trade agreement.
The UK and European Union have been trying to forge a rudimentary post-Brexit free trade agreement before the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, with the treaty-breaking Internal Markets Bill a point of contention that has soured relations between the sides.
As talks to hammer out a deal outlining the post-Brexit relationship between the UK and the European Union have been deadlocked, Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned on Friday that the country was prepared to leave the bloc’s single market at the end of the year without a trade agreement in place.
Earlier, the minister said that the European Union and the UK must hammer out an agreement defining their post-Brexit relationship by early November.
During talks with French President Emmanuel Macron on 10 October Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that he was committed to exploring “every avenue” to achieve a post-Brexit deal, but added the UK was ready to end the transition period on Australia-style conditions if an agreement fails to be found.
After UK trade talks with the EU reached deadlock on several contentious issues such as fishing rights, Britain signed a fisheries framework agreement with Norway on 30 September, hailed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel as an indication the country is on a “constructive path”.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden waded into the row over Britain’s new Internal Market Bill that presupposes a reworking of some aspects of the original Brexit deal struck with the EU, warning UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson against jeopardising an upcoming trade deal between London and Washington by pushing ahead with the plans.
Boris Johnson's UK Internal Market Bill was given initial clearance in the House of Commons, as 340 MPs voted to support it, while 263 opposed the legislation the British Prime Minister touts as a safeguard against the EU's taking an "extreme and unreasonable" interpretation of provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement relating to Northern Ireland.
Downing Street earlier introduced the Internal Market Bill, targeting a specific part of the original EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement that Prime Minister Boris Johnson seeks to amend, while forced to contend with growing opposition to the plans on the part of rebellious Tory MPs, who slam the move as constituting a breach of international law.
On Thursday the United Kingdom made it “perfectly clear” it had no intention of complying with the EU demands that it ditch plans to rewrite parts of the Brexit Withdrawal Deal "by the end of the month", as Brussels stated that Boris Johnson’s government had "seriously damaged trust" and did not rule out taking legal action against the UK.
European Commission VP Maros Sefcovic is set to participate in EU-UK crisis talks in London on Thursday after the United Kingdom unveiled a new Internal Market Bill, inviting a backlash for possibly violating international law.
Earlier, reports emerged that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was seeking to override some parts of the Withdrawal Agreement with the EU pertaining to state aid and the Northern Ireland Protocol, designed to prevent a hard border and customs checks in Ireland, ahead of a make-or-break round of trade negotiations with Brussels.
As the UK and the EU launch a fresh round of post-Brexit talks on future trade and relations, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was cited as vowing not to “back down" over plans to amend the terms of the UK Withdrawal Agreement, ruling out any compromise over the “fundamentals of what it means to be an independent country”.
The eighth round of Brexit talks on a trade and co-operation treaty between London and Brussels starts on Tuesday, as the UK’s transition period is set to expire on 31 December, with the sides having achieved little so far, and Boris Johnson ruling out any extension to the negotiations.
This comes as the seventh round of trade talks between Britain and the EU ended with no breakthrough as the sides have different views on concessions for trade, sovereignty, as well as on access to fishing waters.
A seventh round of trade talks between the European Union and Britain on future relations after the latter’s departure from the bloc last January has failed to make any significant breakthroughs, with large differences remaining on concessions for trade, sovereignty, and access to fishing waters.
There has been little progress achieved by several rounds of talks on future trade and overall relations between the UK and the EU during the post-Brexit transition period, with differences remaining on fundamental issues such as a level playing field and fishing rights.
As the UK is poised to leave EU trading and customs rules at the end of the year, the government announced in June that full border controls would not be applied on goods until July 2021, with Business Insider reporting the plan had elicited serious concerns among business groups, which slammed it as a "disaster" for firms trading with the EU.
Previously, a leaked document obtained by Reuters suggested that Germany was warning the EU to prepare contingency plans for Brexit “no-deal 2.0”, and urging member states against acceding to British plans for trade and security deals “at any price”.
London on 12 June formally confirmed that it will not seek an extension of the Brexit transition period beyond 31 December, as the deadline to hammer out the UK’s future relationship with Brussels draws nearer, with several rounds of video conferencing talks plagued by a series of major obstacles limiting progress.