We will use your email address only for sending you newsletters. Please see our Privacy Notice for details of your data protection rights.
Joachim Lang, director general of The Federation of German Industries (BDI), has conceded it is “inevitable” the UK will leave the EU without a trade deal at the end of the transition period on December 31 and highlighted the huge ramifications this will have on the economy in Germany. Mr Lang, the voice of business in Germany, firmly pointed the blame towards the UK for the lack of progress in discussions and accused the UK’s chief negotiator David Frost of moving away from the Brexit agreement struck in January.
Discussions between Mr Frost and his EU counterpart Michel Barnier ended in London on Thursday with many outstanding issues remaining, including fisheries and the so-called level-playing field.
Mr Lang said: “The sixth round of Brexit negotiations was more than a disappointment for the German economy.
“On key points, such as competition conditions in the future, London has repeatedly diverged from the political declaration.
“A collapse in the negotiations on a partnership agreement between the EU and the UK is now all but inevitable.
“Too many political and technical issues remain unsettled for them to be solved in time.”
At a press conference, Mr Barnier took aim at Mr Frost for failing to compromise and warned “time for answers is quickly running out”.
Mr Frost said “considerable gaps remain in the most difficult areas” including fishing and the so-called level-playing field on trade, but remained confident a deal could be reached by September.
With less than five months to go until the formal end of the transition period, the BDI chief also admitted now is the time for Germany and the rest of the EU to conduct emergency planning for the UK leaving without a trade agreement – which would see Britain trading with the bloc in the future on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms.
Mr Lang said: “The imperative of the hour for the German government and the EU is to bundle all their forces and to focus all their attention on the essential emergency measures.
“Also business on both sides of the Channel must now prepare itself for bilateral trade without an agreement under WTO rules.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson had hoped to conclude talks by the end of the month, however, discussions are now set to drag on over the summer.
Mr Frost has insisted a deal could be reached in less than two months’ time but has called for the EU to change its approach to talks and recognise it is in discussions with an “independent state”.
He said: “Despite all the difficulties, on the basis of the work we have done in July, my assessment is that agreement can still be reached in September.
“We should continue to negotiate with this aim in mind.”
POLL: Should British royals wear face masks while on duty? [POLL]
Brexit LIVE: Boris agrees MAJOR compromise but Barnier STILL demand [LIVE]
Tory peer dismantles EU claim as he insists UK will thrive on WTO exit [VIDEO]
The UK chief negotiator insisted progress had been made in many areas including the trade of goods and services, transport, social security cooperation and EU programmes, but reiterated the UK would be willing to walk away from discussions.
He added: “But nevertheless big differences do remain, in particular with the familiar questions of the so-called level-playing field and fisheries policy.
“We’re in a negotiation. Either outcome is possible. We will work energetically to get a deal but it is possible we won’t reach one.”
Source: Read Full Article