Brexit warning: No deal back on table as EU says Boris making ‘same mistakes’ as May

EXPRESS.CO.UK

The Prime Minister has insisted he will not push back the December 2020 deadline for a post-Brexit trade deal between the UK and the EU. But the bloc has warned the red lines feel like “2017 all over again” amid fears they are unachievable.

An EU source told The Sun: “They’re making a textbook repeat of the same mistakes.

“If a managed no deal is the strategy, to try and put pressure on EU unity and force a series of sectoral agreements, once again it won’t work.”

It comes as Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the chances of striking a free trade agreeement between the UK and EU by Mr Johnson’s deadline are “50-50 because a year is not very long”.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Mr Rutte added: “And if the UK is really not willing to ask for an extension then we run the risk that we might get a cliff edge again.

“I don’t hope so, I won’t work against it to prevent it. But it’s still that case.”

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson said during an online “people’s PMQs” session that he wanted an “all-singing, all-dancing” free trade deal.

He insisted the UK would not engage in “dumping” by lowering social or environmental standards once outside the EU’s regulations.

The Prime Minister said: “We are going to set benchmarks for high standards in the UK and around the world, I believe that will be a good basis to do a fantastic free-trade deal.”

Speaking in Davos, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the “next negotiations will start in February with our British friends” and promised that officials would “work day and night” to reach a deal.

 

She said: “The closer the UK is to the European Union, the better the access to the single market.

“If it is the UK’s choice not to do so, to be more distant to the European Union, well then there will be more distance to the single market where the level playing field is concerned and where free movement of goods, capital and services is concerned.”

Chancellor Sajid Javid added a deal could “absolutely” be agreed by December 31.

He said: “There is a strong belief on both sides it can be done.

“Both sides recognise, of course, that it’s a tight timetable, a lot needs to be put together in the time that we have but it can be done and it can be done for both goods – where we want to see free trade, zero tariffs, zero quotas – but also on services.”

Mr Javid also defended diverging from the single market.

He said: “Brexit will be a change. We’ve had this relationship with the EU, a lot of economic integration for over 40 years, and of course as we leave there’s bound to be change.

“But we’ve also been clear that there is no point in leaving the EU and then sticking with all its rules and regulations forever.

“We are leaving the EU which means we are leaving the single market, we are leaving its customs union, that does mean we will not be a ruletaker.”

The Queen has given royal assent to the legislation for Mr Johnson’s Brexit deal, paving the way for the UK to leave the EU on January 31.

Britain will then enter an 11-month transition period with the bloc until the end of 2020.

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