Brexit: Trade talks with the EU are over, says No 10 – BBC

  • No 10 said there was “no point” in discussions continuing next week unless the EU was prepared to discuss the detailed legal text of a partnership. UK chief negotiator Lord Frost said he had told EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier there was no “basis” for planned talks on Monday.
  • Number 10 said the two sides had agreed to talk again, by phone, next week.
  • Earlier, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted that the Brussels negotiating team would go to London after the weekend to “intensify” talks. But Downing Street said there had to be “a fundamental change in the EU’s approach to these negotiations”.
  • In the morning, Boris Johnson said the country had to “get ready” to trade next year without an agreement, although he did not say the talks were over. He suggested the EU was unwilling to consider seriously the UK’s preferred option of a comprehensive free trade agreement based on the bloc’s existing arrangement with Canada. The UK, he added, must look at the “alternative” – which he suggested was Australia’s much-more limited set of agreements with the EU.

See also the Guardian and FT with similar headlines.  

UK economy not ready for no-deal Brexit, say business leaders – Guardian

  • Business groups called for an urgent resolution in the Brexit talks after the prime minister told UK businesses to get ready for trading with the EU on terms “that are more like Australia’s” – code for leaving without a deal and relying on World Trade Organization terms.
  • The pound fell on the international currency markets after Johnson’s televised intervention, sliding from a high of $1.2956 against the US dollar on Friday morning to a low of about $1.2869, before gradually recovering its losses. The currency also sold off against the euro, falling from €1.1050 to a low of about €1.0991 before staging a recovery.
  • Analysts said the UK prime minister’s statement was a choreographed set piece designed to force the EU to back down, but warned the chances of no deal were rising.
  • Neil Wilson, the chief market analyst at the financial trading platform Markets.com, said: “It’s not entirely bluff – the UK would through gritted teeth accept no deal because politically Johnson is taking so much flak over the pandemic that he has no room to ‘let the country down’ over Brexit.”
  • Ian Wright, the chief executive of the Food and Drink Federation, said a no-deal Brexit would cause severe disruption for business, damage food security and push up prices in the shops for consumers.

Macron claims trade deal upper hand in retort to Johnson – FT

  • French president Emmanuel Macron put the situation bluntly on Friday: Britain still needs a post-Brexit trade deal more than the EU does. 
  • Speaking after UK prime minister Boris Johnson excoriated the state of the Brexit talks and told Britain’s businesses to prepare for a hard exit from the EU single market in 11 weeks’ time, Mr Macron insisted the EU retained the upper hand. 
  • Mr Macron said that Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, has been authorised to “continue talks for the coming two weeks”, while Ursula von der Leyen, the commission president, wrote on Twitter that, “as planned”, officials would head to London next week “to intensify these negotiations”. Downing Street later responded by insisting the EU summit’s outcome meant there was no basis for further discussions starting on Monday.
  • EU officials also noted the real stakes for Britain in walking away. Leaving the talks and pursuing what the UK calls “Australian-style” terms would mean EU import tariffs on UK goods, notably on agricultural produce, and a loss of access rights for services providers from lawyers to truck drivers.  The message was echoed by British business groups, which warned that many companies were not prepared for the disruption, red tape and expense of having to trade with EU counterparts next year. 
  • Mark Rutte, the Dutch prime minister, admitted after the summit there had been a “misunderstanding” about the wording of the conclusions, leaving Britain with the false impression that the EU was asking it to make all the concessions. “On our side we also think we should speed up, together,” Mr Rutte said. That message was shared by other EU leaders, including Angela Merkel, who insisted a deal is still there to be done if both sides compromise. “We have seen some light in the last few days of negotiations, but also shadow,” the German chancellor said on Friday. 
Author

Jessica's practice focuses on international trade and anti-bribery work, encompassing customs, export control and sanctions matters. Jessica's trade work includes advising international clients on fast-moving and evolving EU and UN sanctions, notably in respect of Iran and Russia, and on compliance with UK and EU export controls. Her trade experience also includes advising on tariff classification and customs valuations. Jessica's anti-bribery experience includes assisting with investigations, and advising clients on compliance with anti-bribery laws. Jessica has also taken a lead role in monitoring Brexit-related developments; analysing how they will affect the UK's trading position generally, and clients' businesses specifically. She has helped clients begin to conduct risk assessments of how Brexit will impact their businesses, and has assisted them in developing tailored Brexit strategies. Jessica also presents at various seminars, webinars, and conferences on the complexities of Brexit. Jessica advises global clients on complex issues arising from international transactions and works with clients across a number of sectors including pharmaceuticals, defence, finance, aviation, energy, and telecommunications. Jessica has also worked previously in Paris, and is fluent in French.

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