Italian MEP Antonio Maria Rinaldi: “The UK did not leave Europe, it left the EU, which is just a series of agreements.”

Downing Street has said because it is enshrined in legislation, there would be no change to the deadline. The UK is now in a transition period despite having abandoned the bloc on January 31, where it is operating under EU rules.

The UK’s chief Brexit negotiator David Frost will speak with his EU counterpart Michel Barnier on Wednesday to outline a timetable for the next round of trade discussions.

While the challenges of conducting talks through conference can be worked out, it has been said that there are still differences between two sides’ positions.

Brussels still insists on preserving existing fishing rights in British waters and wants London to agree to a variety of EU regulations, including environmental standards, employees’ rights and state aid rules.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is demanding that the right to diverge from the rules of the bloc to strike trade arrangements around the globe.

According to Italian MEP Antonio Maria Rinaldi, due to the uncertainties caused by this pandemic, the EU is likely to make concessions to Britain.

He said: “I strongly believe that this tragedy could actually accelerate the Brexit trade talks.
“The longer the transition period is, the worse is for the EU.
“Let’s be clear.
“The UK did not leave Europe, it left the EU, which is just a series of agreements.
“And agreements have been signed and rejected since the days of the Babylonians.
“The UK, with its strength and ability and with its power, will certainly manage to find bilateral and plurilateral agreements.
“It has always done so, but not only that, the UK has the upper hand in these negotiations.
“If the EU does not make any concessions it is like saying ‘I am a customer, I am going to buy a pair of shoes and the owner of the shop starts slapping me in the face’.”

Conservative MP John Redwood echoed Mr Rinaldi’s comments in an interview with the Express, in which he promised that Mr Johnson’s consistency in demands would significantly strengthen the UK’s negotiating position with the EU.

Mr Redwood said whenever the EU realises there’s nothing else on offer; the UK will only receive a good trade deal.

The Tory MP said: “I can’t be sure of what is in Boris’ mind, but I can offer my advice.

“My advice is that Boris has to carry on saying and doing exactly what he has been saying and doing from the outset of these post-Brexit trade talks.
“That the British position is a respectable, sensible and a strong one and it must not change.
“Over the weeks ahead, if it becomes clear to the EU that our position is not going to change, we will start to see movement.”

He added he believed the UK was in a position to walk with no agreement from post-Brexit trade discussions and said: “I believe that ending up just leaving puts us in a perfectly good position.
“But of course, I would rather we had a free trade agreement as well.
“It is massively in the EU’s interest to get a good trade deal, but we will only get it if the EU recognises that there is nothing better on offer from their point of view.
“They would clearly rather have a free trade agreement modified by controls and laws and taxes imposed on us.”

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