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Germany fears a hard Brexit, as UK moves away from political negotiations

Saturday, May 9th 2020 - 08:40 UTC
Full article 2 comments
“It's worrying that Britain is moving further away from our jointly agreed political declaration on key issues in the negotiations,” minister Heiko Maas said “It's worrying that Britain is moving further away from our jointly agreed political declaration on key issues in the negotiations,” minister Heiko Maas said

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in a newspaper interview on Saturday there was a growing risk of a hard Brexit in the midst of the coronavirus crisis as negotiations between Britain and the European Union so far on the future trade relationship had yielded hardly any progress.

Britain left the EU in January, and talks with the bloc are now focused on setting new trading terms from 2021, when London's status-quo transition period ends. However the talks quickly hit an impasse when negotiations resumed last month, according to diplomats and officials.

“It's worrying that Britain is moving further away from our jointly agreed political declaration on key issues in the negotiations,” Maas told Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper.

“It's simply not on, because the negotiations are a complete package as it's laid out in the political declaration,” he added.

Maas said there was currently neither common ground on how to shape a comprehensive trade deal nor on whether to extend the negotiation period beyond the end of the year.

“The British government is still refusing to extend the deadline,” Maas said. “If it stays that way, we will have to deal with Brexit in addition to the coronavirus at the turn of the year.”

Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said on Friday the coronavirus pandemic had made an already difficult timeline for a British-European Union trade deal “virtually impossible” and that it would make sense to seek more time.

Categories: Economy, Politics, International.

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  • Pugol-H

    Oh come now Herr Maas, you know very well the EU has moved just as far away from the political declaration, if not further in some areas, than the UK has.

    Also the political declaration is not a legally binding agreement it is a statement of intent, an outline for starting future discussions and no more.

    Any extension would simply mean the UK having to pay billions more into the EU instead of collecting billions from them in tariffs, on their large trade surplus with the UK.

    Nor would an extension make an agreement any more likely, quite the reverse in fact. At the moment both parties are talking past each other on certain issues and that will not change without a deadline.

    Furthermore the EU are desperate (more so than before) for the UK to keep paying into their budget for as long as possible and will not rush to any conclusion where both of the possible outcomes (deal or no deal), results in the end of those payments.

    What is the point of ending lockdown and returning to the old normal in the single market, which is not currently functioning anyway, then disrupting everything again going to WTO rules?

    Better to go straight to the new reality when the disruption involved is a walk in the park compared to clearing up after Covid 19.

    Leave the EU to agree the next five year MFF budget and fiscal recovery plan by themselves.

    May 09th, 2020 - 02:01 pm 0
  • daver01

    So yet again, the EU are putting their own interpretation on what has been agreed with the UK, in this case on the 'Politicial Declaraton', with German foreign minister Heikko Maas saying that the UK “is moving further away from our jointly agreed political declaration on key issues in the negotiations.”

    Well, and just to remind Herr Maas, all the Polticial Declaration is is a roadmap to the areas that will be discussed in the negotiations on the future UK-EU relationship. It does NOT contain ANY promise, guarantee or any other affirmaton that either the EU or, more specifically, that the UK has or will agree to anything. Therefore, if OUR government wishes to “move away” from anything in the Political Declaration, there is nothing to prevent us from legally doing so.

    May 09th, 2020 - 08:26 pm 0
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