Brexit watchers have long been waiting for the moment when trade talks with the EU would eventually explode into a large-scale row.
Students of international negotiations know that a theatrical explosion is often the prelude to a deal.
Yesterday the moment finally seemed to come. Boris Johnson recorded a statement on camera asking Britain to prepare to exit the Brexit transition without a trade deal at the end of this year.
Pictured: Boris Johnson making a statement on post-Brexit trade talks on Friday, October 16. Johnson has told Britain to prepare to exit the Brexit transition without a trade deal at the end of this year.
Just ten weeks away, the Prime Minister said, it was clear the EU was unwilling to grant the kind of free trade deal it has struck with Canada and other partners.
“They want the continued ability to control our legislative freedom, our fisheries, in a way that is obviously unacceptable to an independent country,” he said.
Without a “fundamental change of approach” by the EU, there was no point in continuing the negotiations.
An hour later, the prime minister’s official spokesperson went further, saying trade talks were “over”. He said EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier is expected to cancel a planned trip to London next week unless he plans to take a new approach.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen responded to Mr Johnson’s comments by saying talks will continue in London next week
The n ° 10 had envisaged the confrontation of yesterday well before the Brussels summit of this week. In fact, the EU made it easier for them. EU leaders withdrew the pledge to “step up” discussions from their summit conclusions and said it was up to the UK to “take the necessary steps to make a deal possible”.
French President Emmanuel Macron said there were ‘no circumstances’ in which he would compromise on fishing despite the fact that, as he conceded yesterday, a No Deal result would leave French trawlers completely in the cold.
With postures like this, the Prime Minister felt encouraged to go further than he could by stepping up the rhetoric.
So, is it all theatrical? Only up to a point.
The European Union has always misinterpreted the mood in No 10, where Brexit is seen as a long-term project that cannot be disappointed by the demands of reaching short-term deals.
Some European Union leaders still seem to think they are dealing with a tougher version of Theresa May’s government, which has never seriously considered walking away without a deal.
But the new Downing Street administration is very different. Those at the heart of government will not accept constraints on the UK’s long-term ability to deviate from EU rules. They believe the UK’s ability to chart its own course is the whole point of Brexit.
Johnson has said EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier (pictured) is expected to cancel a planned trip to London next week unless he plans to take a new approach
The Prime Minister wants a deal – and knows leaving without a deal would be considered a failure.
Michael Gove, who is in charge of border preparations, is deeply concerned about the short-term halt to the no-deal departure, which officials say would disrupt vital supply chains and cause chaos in Kent.
And there are fears at the top of the government that the collapse of the talks would inevitably be acrimonious and trigger a damaging trade war that could last for years.
So an agreement is always possible – and probably the most likely outcome.
But time is running out. And Brussels and the financial markets underestimate the real possibility that when the PM says he is ready to adopt No Deal, he might think so.
Boris calls for Brexit talks: PM says we must prepare for no Agreement – because the EU will not budge
By Jason Groves in London and James Franey in Brussels for the Daily Mail
Britain should prepare for a no-deal Brexit, Boris Johnson warned yesterday as he called off negotiations on a trade deal.
The prime minister said the “unacceptable” demands from the EU meant there was no point in further discussions.
And, just ten weeks away from the end of the Brexit transition, he said it was time for businesses and individuals to start preparing for life without a trade deal, which will result in tariffs and possible short-term border chaos.
Downing Street went further, with Mr Johnson’s official spokesperson saying trade talks were ‘over’.
No 10 told EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier last night not to travel to London for talks next week, just hours after European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, said efforts would be “ stepped up ”.
Gove: The Navy will help protect our fishermen
The Royal Navy will protect British waters in the days following the Brexit transition period, warned Michael Gove.
Speaking aboard HMS Westminster in Portsmouth, he said the sailors would help in any future conflict over the fishing waters and help to ‘ensure that no one abuses their rights’. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster also said the army was on standby “ready to help”.
Mr Gove’s comments on Thursday came amid a row with the EU over access to UK fishing waters, with President Emmanuel Macron saying French fishermen will not be ‘sacrificed’ to secure a deal .
Mr. Gove said: “The navy has always played a role in protecting fisheries and that role will continue. In the days following the transition period, the Royal Navy along with the Coast Guard, the Department of Transport and others will continue to help protect the fisheries.
This map shows the extent of the UK’s Exclusive Economic Zone – the waters over which Britain will regain control after Brexit. Currently, the EEZ of each EU member state is merged into one large area accessible to fishermen from all over Europe.
A spokesperson said it was ‘pointless’ to continue talks next week unless the EU changes course, although Mr Johnson’s chief negotiator Lord Frost is speaking with Mr. Barnier by telephone.
Mr Johnson has left the door open for talks to resume in the coming days. But he said that would require a “fundamental change of approach” from Brussels.
He said Britain should embrace the prospect of a trade deal “with a high heart and full confidence”.
He added: “We will prosper mightily as an independent free trade nation, controlling our own borders, our fisheries and establishing our own laws.”
Foreign Minister Dominic Raab had previously suggested that there was still “an agreement to be made”.
Mr Raab said the differences between the two sides were now “very narrow”, with “only two issues at stake” – fishing rights and rules on state aid subsidies.
Mr Johnson’s comments follow an EU summit in which leaders abandoned their commitment to ‘step up’ negotiations and said it was up to the UK to ‘take the necessary steps to make a agreement possible ”.
Its spokesperson said: “The trade negotiations are over. The EU effectively ended them by saying that they don’t want to change their negotiating position ”.
Last night, some European leaders showed signs of compromise. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Brussels must accept the UK’s right to deviate from EU rules in the future, adding: “If we want a deal then both sides have to take a step towards the other.”
And French President Emmanuel Macron has admitted for the first time that his country’s fishing fleet will be even worse under No Deal.
However, a European source close to the negotiations said: “If Mr Johnson wants the EU to completely change its position, that just won’t happen.”
The prospect of No Deal has sparked a backlash from business leaders.
Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, CEO of CBI, said: “ After four years of negotiations and so many hurdles cleared, now is not the time to give up. ”
And Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said leaving the EU without a deal would have a “ devastating ” impact on the auto industry, affecting the economy and jobs in all parts of the world. UK.
Ian Wright, chief executive of the Food and Drink Federation, said Mr Johnson’s words suggested “ we are heading into very dangerous territory ”, with No Deal likely to result in higher food prices.
Allie Renison, of the Institute of Directors, warned that preparing for No Deal in the midst of a pandemic would be “a Herculean task for many companies.”