Britain has ramped up No Deal preparations as talks on a future trade deal with the EU grinded to a halt this week.
The intervention of France’s President on fisheries was seen as aggressive by Britain’s negotiators as the EU dug in with its demands to have unfettered access to British waters.
Following France’s intervention and the EU’s ultimatum to Britain, Boris Johnson said today that there would have to be “fundamental change” on the European side for a deal to take place, and that Britain was prepared to leave on Australian style terms without a trade agreement.
The news will come as a bitter blow to Germany that has been keen to press on and look for flexibility in the negotiations. With the EU’s demands on fisheries and state aid, Britain’s negotiating team has been unable to progress on other areas – another factor in dampening the atmosphere between leaders so close to the January 1st deadline.
Despite the impending No Deal scenario, Johnson struck an optimistic tone about Britain’s future and said that “We have high hearts, and with complete confidence we will prepare to embrace the alternative and we will prosper mightily”.
The question remains whether the EU will drop its demands and seek a free trade agreement or push on with No Deal planning. With Germany and in particular Ireland keen for a deal, France’s position on fisheries may prove to cause tremendous fractures amongst other EU member states that see a free trade agreement as vital, considering Britain’s economic size – being the former 2nd largest economy in the EU as a whole.