Brexit: ball is in Boris Johnson’s court, EU negotiator says
Monday, 07 December 2020
Chief Brexit negotiator for the EU Michel Barnier has said that the ball is in British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s court for a post-Brexit trade agreement, a senior EU diplomat said according to Reuters.
Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen spoke on the phone on Saturday. After deciding to give a trade agreement one last effort, Barnier and his British counterpart David Frost met again on Sunday.
Commission president von der Leyen announced after their call that “differences remain” and that she and Johnson would speak again on Monday.
Various media report that the so-called “level playing field” seems to be the biggest issue in negotiations for a trade agreement.
The UK officially left the EU at the end of January 2020, but until the new year, it remains part of the EU’s customs union and internal market in a transition phase until the end of the year.
The lack of a post-Brexit trade agreement could severely impact the economies of both the EU and the UK, as World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules would apply. WTO rules will mean higher tariffs and extensive customs controls.