Expert Anan Menon has forecast that Brexit trade talks between the UK and the EU will likely conclude in a “thin deal” but only after the direct intervention of EU leaders.
Brexit talks have been at a standstill for some months as Britain and the European Union continue to drag issues that are particular to them. But there was fresh hope for a deal to be sealed after a virtual meeting between Boris Johnson and EU echelons in June, where they agreed to fasten up talks to seal an agreement by December.
Meanwhile, Anand Menon, director of the UK in a Changing Europe think tank, predicted a “thin deal” will be agreed upon but suggested Michel Barnier will have to deal with the direct intervention of EU leaders in the negotiations.
While speaking to Channel 4 News, Mr Menon said: “If you force me to guess, I would say yes, there will be a deal.
“I think it will come in the autumn. By the autumn, as the clock is ticking down, as it always seems to do with Brexit, heads of state and government will get involved, then the necessary trade-offs will be made.
“It’s worth bearing in mind, there are deals and deals, and this promises to be quite a thin deal that’s going to necessitate quite a lot of checks at our borders.”
The assessment comes as Michael Gove announced the Government will invest £705 million on new border infrastructure.
Mr Gove said part of the money will be used to build land and border infrastructure while £235 million will be invested in a new IT system and staffing.
The Tory frontbencher said: “We’re spending just over £700 million in order to make sure that our borders can enable the smooth flow of traffic but also keep us safe.
“Some people voted to take back control in the referendum three and a half years ago, they wanted us to be in a position where we could trade with our neighbours in Europe, but also have new trading relationships with other countries.
“In order to do that, that means that we need to have our borders upgraded in order to facilitate that trade and it’s also the case that we want to make sure that we can have tough and secure borders to deal with organised crime and other security threats and that’s one of the reasons why we are investing in more Border Force personnel.
“The technology that we’re investing in today will make it easier for people to do business and also fulfil the promise of taking back control which people voted for.”
But Irish Taoiseach Micheal Martin demanded the British Government provide additional information on the potential arrangements for the Irish Sea border.
“We do need more details, we need more precision. I think we need an injection of momentum into the overall talks between the European Union and the United Kingdom in relation to Brexit. I believe that if there’s a will there’s a way in terms of resolving outstanding issues,” Mr Martin said.