British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned on Tuesday that a post-Brexit trade agreement is “looking very, very difficult at the moment.”
At the same time, “you’ve got to be optimistic,” Johnson said. “You’ve got to believe there’s the power of sweet reason to get this thing over the line,” he continued, promising that “we’ll do our level best.”
“Be in good cheer, there are great options ahead for our country on any view,” Johnson said, “but the key thing is, on 1 January, whatever happens there’s going to be change and people need to get ready for that change.”
Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen spoke on the phone on Monday, after which they communicated that “the conditions for finalizing an agreement are not there due to the remaining significant differences on three critical issues: level playing field, governance and fisheries.”
Johnson and von der Leyen “asked our Chief Negotiators and their teams to prepare an overview of the remaining differences to be discussed in a physical meeting in Brussels in the coming days.” That could be as early as Wednesday, or Friday, according to the BBC.
The British PM said that “the UK government’s position is that we are willing to engage at any level, political or otherwise, we are willing to try anything,” while adding the caveat that “there are just limits beyond which no sensible, independent government or country could go and people have got to understand that.”