The Commission announced yesterday a plan of urgent measures to deal with the problems that will arise from a naughty Brexit, without a trade agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union. The uneasy situation on both sides intensified on Wednesday night, when British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen failed to bridge the differences that prevent an agreement from being reached at the three-hour working dinner.
“It is our responsibility to prepare for any eventuality,” Ursula von der Leyen said yesterday, adding that negotiations between the two sides would continue until Sunday. British Foreign Secretary Dominique Raab appeared rather pessimistic about the possibility of reaching an agreement, even at the last minute. “I think Sunday will be an important moment. You never say never in such conversations, but at some point we have to face the final “.
The Commission’s emergency plan envisages that the 27 Member States will continue to offer Britain free access to air, road and rail transport to avoid the threat of chaos, provided London does the same. In addition, it is proposed to extend for one year the access of British fishermen to European waters, again on the condition of reciprocity. Until last night, there was no formal reaction from the British Government to the Commission proposal. However, a government source quoted by Sky News was negative about the fisheries proposals. “We could not accept arrangements and access to British waters that are incompatible with our future character as an independent, coastal state,” the anonymous official said. Other reports, however, say that Britain stayed in the EU yesterday. that it is ready for significant setbacks to remove the stalemate by Sunday.
Major investment bank JP Morgan reduced the chances of reaching an agreement to 60% from 66% earlier, while British multinational supermarket Tesco warned that food prices would rise if no agreement was reached. For his part, French Undersecretary of State for European Affairs Clement Boone warned that British citizens may now need a visa to stay for more than three months in a member state of the Union.
Yesterday, Britain signed a free trade agreement with Singapore, similar to a similar agreement it reached with Japan in October. The Johnson administration insists that, after the end of the transition period on December 31, Britain will be able to conclude beneficial, bilateral agreements with all countries of the world.