Boris Johnson's deadline puts an end to a full Brexit deal
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said it would be "impossible" for the UK to negotiate a comprehensive deal covering all aspects of Brexit within the time frame set by Boris Johnson.
Boris Johnson: outline of Brexit deal should be ‘done by July’
«The truth is that our partnership cannot and will not be the same. And it won't be as cramped as it used to be because every choice has a consequence», – said, speaking on Wednesday ahead of her first bilateral face-to-face meeting with Prime Minister Downing Street, Ursula Gertrud von der Leyen, who became the EU's executive chair in December.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson pushed the government to end trade negotiations with the European Union no later than December. Johnson made it clear what he was looking for «ambitious» a free trade agreement with the EU, similar to the one between Europe and Canada – the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). This deal took seven years to complete and has yet to be fully ratified by European national parliaments..
«We are ready to develop conditions for cooperation with zero tariffs, zero quotas, zero dumping. A partnership that goes far beyond trade and on an unprecedented scale. Everything from climate action to data protection, fisheries and energy, transportation and space, financial services and security. And we are ready to work day and night to do as much of this as possible within the time frame set for us.», – said Ursula von der Leyen.
If the UK does not accept a level playing field with the European Union on post-Brexit trade positions, there will inevitably be barriers to British industry, she said in a speech at the London School of Economics..
At the same time, Michel Barnier, EU Brexit negotiator, warned in an impromptu exchange that leaving the EU is not an easy process and involves a «600 international agreements», as well as a new free trade agreement.
«In principle, it is impossible to agree on all», – said von der Leyen.
She said the EU will prioritize elements of the deal to prevent the UK from leaving the EU under World Trade Organization rules..
But she said the closer the UK wants to be to the EU, the better the chances of a deal that will help avoid extremes..
«The more disagreements, the more distant the prospect of partnership becomes», – she said. «Without extending the transition period beyond 2020, you cannot expect to agree on all aspects of our new partnership..
«Without freedom of movement for people, you cannot move capital, goods and services freely. Without a level playing field for the environment, labor, taxation and government aid, you cannot gain high-quality access to the world's largest single market».
As the Prime Minister ruled out the possibility of extending the transition period, von der Leyen stated that in practice the United Kingdom would need «maximum nine to ten months» in order to close the deal on time so that it is ratified by December 31.
«So it's not all or nothing [in trade negotiations], it's a matter of priorities», – she said.
«We are ready to develop a new proposal for cooperation with zero tariffs, zero quotas, zero dumping» and «partnerships that go far beyond trade and on an unprecedented scale», – she said.
The list of non-trade items, which she says is not exhaustive, includes «climate action, data protection, fisheries and energy, transportation, space, financial services from a security perspective».
She added: «We are ready to work day and night to do as much of this as possible within the time frame that we have..
«All this does not mean that it will be easy, but we begin these negotiations from the position of confidence in the achievement of the goal, goodwill and common interests. And we must be optimistic. We need to be optimistic».
Thanking the British people for their contributions to the EU over the past 47 years, she said that after three years of difficult hardships, it was time to focus on mutual interests and friendship..
She warned Brexit day will be tough for those looking to stay in the EU.
«It will be a difficult and emotional day.», – she said, adding that both sides should be optimistic about the future after January 31.
«When the sun rises again on February 1, the EU and the UK will remain best friends and partners», – she said.
She said that both sides need «forge together a new way forward», even if the negotiations are difficult and «each side will do what is best for them».
«I say this because Brexit not only marks the end of something. It also marks a new stage in lasting partnerships and friendships. It will be a partnership for your generation », – she said.