Johnson Tells Merkel U.K. Is Ready to Go Without an EU Trade Deal
Boris Johnson, U.K. prime minister, center, speaks with attendees, including Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor, ahead of the start of round-table talks at the European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium. (Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg)

Johnson Tells Merkel U.K. Is Ready to Go Without an EU Trade Deal

Boris Johnson warned Germany’s Angela Merkel that the U.K. is ready to do without a trade deal if the European Union wasn’t prepared to compromise.

The prime minister spoke to the chancellor Tuesday, as Brexit negotiators held informal talks over a private dinner. Negotiations are stuck over questions including fishing rights, the future influence of EU courts in U.K. laws, and how far Britain will be able to loosen its rules and still enjoy access to the single market.

“The prime minister underlined the U.K.’s commitment to working hard to find an early agreement out of the intensified talks process,” Johnson’s office said in a statement later. “He also noted that the U.K. equally would be ready to leave the transition period on Australia terms if an agreement could not in the end be reached.”

“Australia terms” is how the U.K. government refers to not having a trade deal. Johnson promised voters at last year’s election that he had an “oven-ready” Brexit deal. The transition period during which trade continues as though the U.K. was still an EU member runs out at the end of 2020. If agreement can’t be reached, both sides face a further economic shock on top of the damage already done by coronavirus.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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