If the UK agrees to adhere to the bloc’s standards the European Union will only offer Britain unique access, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen says…

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Von der Leyen stated she was surprised British Prime Minister Boris Johnson raised the possibility that Britain would take Australia-style trade arrangements if his government can not reach a detailed agreement.

“Australia is a strong and like-minded associate but the European Union does not have a trade deal with Australia,” said von der Leyen, the head of the bloc’s powerful executive arm. “We’re currently trading on World Trade Organisation terms.” Von der Leyen added:”If this is the British option, we’re fine with that without any question.

But in fact, we just are in the moment where we are agreeing with Australia that we must end this situation and we operate in a trade deal together.” Britain left the EU on January 31 – the first country ever to do so – but it is continuing to follow EU regulations until the end of the year.

During the transition period, EU leaders and the British government will try to negotiate agreements and a trade deal covering areas. Britain wants the trade agreement exclude almost all tariffs and to cover goods and services. However, Johnson has been adamant that the UK will not keep following all the EU’s regulations.

To strike deals with other countries, Johnson wants the flexibility to subscribe to varying criteria for areas such as state aid, competition or the environment. Von derLeyen insisted that the 27-member EU is offering Britain”something we’ve never offered before to anyone else” on the condition that the former EU country guarantees fair competition and protections for employees and the environment.

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