Brexit trade negotiations are expected to start once both the British Parliament and European Parliament have ratified the Withdrawal Agreement Boris Johnson negotiated with the bloc last year. Mr Johnson repeatedly claimed a new trade arrangement can be put in place before the end of the transition period in December 2020 despite European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen claiming a year is not enough to get an agreement. But Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde conceded “some deal” can be struck in the eleven months the EU and Britain are expected to have to discuss their future commercial relationship.
Speaking to the Today programme, Mrs Linde said: “I have been minister of Trade and know how very, very difficult it is to get trade deals.
“With the EU and Canada we had seven years of negotiations. Of course, it’s easier when you already have been a member of the EU but still, I think it’s slightly unrealistic to have a full deal in just 11 months.
But when pressed on whether even a partial agreement could be reached by December, Mrs Linde said: “Some deal can be done, of course.
“And I’m very, very happy that, finally, the withdrawal agreement is now in place.”
Boris Johnson secured the backing of Parliament for his Withdrawal Agreement Bill once MPs returned to Westminster after the Christmas recess.
The bill, which would allow the Government to implement the deal agreed with Brussels into British law, has been going through the final reviewing stages in the House of Lords this week.
Once the new legislation has cleared both Houses, the Queen will be presented with the new bill to give her Royal Assent and turn into law.
MEPs will also cast a vote on the withdrawal agreement during a special session of the European Parliament in Brussels scheduled for January 29.
A special EU Summit is then expected to be called bringing together the leaders of EU member states in February to formally start trade negotiations with Britain.
Should the transition period fail to extend beyond 2020, trade relations between the EU and the UK from the start of 2021 will either be governed by whatever agreement can be made by the end of the year, or by World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.
Prime Minister Johnson also insisted there will be no customs checks between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK after Brexit.
However, EU Commission boss Ursula von der Leyen said border controls between the two are clearly laid out in the divorce agreement Britain signed up to.
And Theresa May’s former chief of staff claimed the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal would give the EU what it originally wanted in regards to Northern Ireland.
Under Mr Johnson’s deal, Northern Ireland will effectively remain in the EU’s single market for goods but Stormont can vote to end the arrangement in the future.
The departure of the UK from the European Union prompted Chancellor Angela Merkel to issue a warning to Brussels, insisting the bloc must become “attractive, innovative, creative, a good place for research and education.”
Mrs Merkel also renewed her warning about the UK becoming a serious economic competitor on the EU’s doorsteps because of Britain’s newfound freedom to diverge from EU current rules.
Brexit trade negotiations are expected to start once both the British Parliament and European Parliament have ratified the Withdrawal Agreement Boris Johnson negotiated with the bloc last year. Mr Johnson repeatedly claimed a new trade arrangement can be put in place before the end of the transition period in December 2020 despite European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen claiming a year is not enough to get an agreement.