EU is still planning for no-deal Brexit, says Michel Barnier

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer
Michel Barnier revealed the EU is still planning for a no-deal Brexit (Getty)

Despite the Government standing down no-deal Brexit planning with immediate effect, the EU has not followed suit.

In fact, no-deal planning is still very much in full flow, according to the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.

During a speech in Sweden on Thursday morning, Mr Barnier said there was still a possibility of a trade deal not being struck by the end of 2020, while Boris Johnson has already ruled out an extension to the transition period.

Boris Johnson has ruled out any extension to the transition period (AP)

Mr Barnier said: “If Prime Minister Johnson does not want an extension of the transition period beyond the end of the year – and yesterday when we met him with Ursula von der Leyen, he told us very clearly that he does not want such an extension – we will have less than 11 months to conclude a deal.

“If we fail, the transition period will end on 1 January 2021 without any arrangements for a new future relationship in place.

“This would not affect the issues covered in the withdrawal agreement… But it would mean the return of tariffs and quotas: a total anachronism for interconnected economies like ours.

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“Of course, this is not what the EU wants. But it is nonetheless a scenario that everyone must continue to prepare for – at EU level, but also at national level, and here in Sweden.”

Mr Barnier made it clear that he believes a full trade deal by the end of the year was unrealistic.

"We cannot expect to agree on every aspect of this new partnership," Mr Barnier said, adding "we are ready to do our best in the 11 months”.

The EU does not believe a trade deal can be struck by the end of 2020 (AP)

During a transition period ending on December 31, a new relationship between the EU and the UK will be negotiated.

Full trade covers everything from fisheries to the airline industry to medicines, but the EU insists to deal with all these issues in one year is a pipe dream.

The Prime Minister has insisted he will not agree to any more delays - leading to fears that the country will face a no-deal Brexit at the start of 2021.

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