The UK and the EU are looking forward to a possible post-Brexit trade deal agreement before the end of December, which experts have said is possible, yet appears very difficult to achieve, as Britain lead negotiator David Frost advised Brussels to stop making unrealistic demands.
The UK is working to pin down a free trade agreement before the Brexit transition phase finally ends by the end of Dec. Lords Frost has urged his EU counterparts to scale back their unrealistic ambitions, warning that “time is short”, following tensions over Brussels’ move to frustrate the UK from being able to set its own fishing rules, and decide how to assist British firms.
Top Brexiteers have urged the UK to cancel the Withdrawal Agreement as it gives Brussels and its agencies continuing power over the UK for years to come, warning that continuing with the agreement will cause Britain to face years of “legal wrangling” and it will be “a nightmare on Brexit street”.
Lords Frost said the UK government remain resolute on working to secure a Canadian-style of the free trade deal.
“As we enter the final stages of negotiations we are all focusing on what it might take to get a trade agreement in place. An agreement is still very much possible, but equally very far from certain. The last two weeks of informal talks have been relatively positive, but there remains much to be done, and time is short. We have been saying from the beginning of this process that we simply want a standard free trade agreement like Canada’s,” Mr Frost said.
“Sadly, the EU’s position has not been so straightforward and we continue to be asked to accept provisions which do not reflect the reality of the change which our exit from the EU brings. If the gaps in these areas are to be bridged, the EU still needs to scale back more of its unrealistic ambitions and work on more realistic policy positions.
“I hope this will be possible this coming week, and I and my team are ready to work as hard as necessary to move things forward,” Lords Frost added.
Meanwhile, the Centre for Brexit Policy (CBP) has advised that in order to secure national independence, the current Withdrawal Agreement must be cancelled and replaced with a new treaty, while stating that, “We are now grappling with the dreadful consequences of acceding to a treaty that, if left unchanged, reduces the UK to the status of an EU colony.”
The CBP is concerned that if the agreement is not dumped Britain will see the European Court of Justice “using its powers to uphold special rights for EU citizens living in the UK” while anticipating attempts to outlaw efforts by the UK to support domestic industry.
The CBP also warned that walking away from the trade talks will not be enough to separate the UK from Brussels since the Withdrawal Agreement and the fiercely controversial Northern Ireland protocol are “already domestic and international law” and will definitely take effect from next year unless repealed.
According to the CBP, suggestions that the issues in the agreement will be corrected after the end of the transition period are “profoundly mistaken”, and should not be considered. This follows a warning from MPs who are kicking against the current Withdrawal Agreement`.
“There is a real and present danger that the UK will cut its ties with the EU at the end of the year with much fanfare, only to discover that its negotiating strategy has been so feeble that it is legally entwined with EU rules and regulations for years to come. That will be our Hotel California moment, and it won’t be pretty,” Labour MP Graham Stringer said.
Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen has also called for the Withdrawal Agreement to be cancelled saying, “It is clear whether we leave the transition period on December 31 with or without a free trade deal with the EU, we need a clean break from their control.
“The Withdrawal Agreement has served its purpose in facilitating negotiations and it should be repealed by our sovereign Parliament prior to us leaving the transition period to prevent any further interference by the EU in sovereign UK matters in future.”
“This new report from the CBP is a wake-up call for ministers as they struggle to negotiate the final terms of the UK departure from the EU. Deeply embedded in the WA are sweeping powers for the EU over much of our commercial and national life.
“The prospect of the European Court of Justice and the European Commission continuing to issue orders to the UK and endless legal wrangling truly means we face a nightmare on Brexit street unless we break free from their clutches at the eleventh hour.” John Longworth, Director-General of the Centre for Brexit Policy said.
Saturday’s report also suggests to the UK government to exploit the financial power of the City of London to pressurise the EU into a level ground in the next round of talks, saying, it should propose that Britain could impose penalties on European financial institutions seeking to raise capital in London if Brussels will not accede to UK demands.
Director-general Dame Carolyn Fairbairn said, “Now must be the time for political leadership and the spirit of compromise to shine through on both sides. A deal can and must be made.” While Former Conservative Brexit minister David Jones hopes that a repeal of the Withdrawal Agreement can be avoided but placed the blame for the present difficulties on the EU.
“The Withdrawal Agreement required both sides to negotiate in good faith using best endeavours towards getting a free trade agreement… But they haven’t done that, they have wasted literally months talking about their red lines.
“The Centre for Brexit Policy is correct in saying that if we arrive at a point where there is no deal it will be in large measure due to the breach by the European Union of its obligations under the Withdrawal Agreement. If that’s the case then quite clearly the United Kingdom should not be required to fulfil its obligations.
“And it seems that the UK will have to assess the situation when we arrive at that point and if it thinks it’s appropriate it should say to the European Union, Well, given your failure to observe the provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement we will not regard ourselves as bound by it,” he said.
“My view is that we are likely to get a comprehensive free trade agreement as it’s in the interests of both the EU and the UK. Therefore these problems should largely go away,” said Veteran Brexiteer and Tory MP Peter Bone.