The EU is thought to be preparing to take a hardline approach with Boris Johnson when trade talks begin following Britain’s departure from the bloc in January. However, a leading Brussels insider has revealed the EU cannot actually “afford to be stubborn or refuse to compromise” on a trade deal with the UK. EU expert Thomas Kielenger, who formerly reported for Die Welt, told the BBC that Brussels needed a trade deal more than the UK did.
Kielenger said there was fear among EU leaders about the ongoing slump in the European economy, which has been hit by the US-China trade war and Brexit uncertainty.
There is also a panic in Brussels that Britain’s departure, which is expected to leave a whopping £70bn hole in the EU budget, could torpedo the bloc’s future.
He said: “Europe has to do its best to continue a workable relationship with the UK so as to not lose it a second time.
“The EU can’t afford to leave the UK by being stubborn and hard-nosed.”
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The EU is preparing to take a hardline approach with Boris Johnson when trade talks begin
Sunday Telegraph columnist Janet Daley agreed with Thomas’ assessment of the trade talks
He continued: “European growth is absent and will get worse because of the absence of the £11bn that the UK used to pay into Brussels coffers every year.
“The Europeans need to get their act together. They must create a relationship with Boris. They are not going to be able to be stubborn or refuse compromises.”
Sunday Telegraph columnist Janet Daley agreed, saying: “You described it as the obstinacy, I would say it’s the arrogance of Europe.
“Everyone has to do business and the rate of growth of the EU is below that of the UK. The UK has had better growth even during this horrendous period of paralysis.
Kielenger said that there was fear among EU leaders about the ongoing slump in the European economy
“Germany’s growth rate is half of one percent while ours is 1.5 percent.
“In order to salvage the eurozone and the European economy, the EU are going to have to meet our negogiators half-way.”
Today Micahel Gove reiterated the Conservative Party’s election pledge that the UK will secure a trade deal with the EU by the end of next year.
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It remans unclear how the two sides will come to an agreement on hotly-contested issues like the UK’s future alignment with EU laws
At the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, the UK is set to exit the EU’s customs union and single market and enter newly negotiated arrangements.
Boris Johnson’s withdrawal agreement, which is expected to be passed by Christmas, states that the transition period can be extended by “one or two years” but that this must be agreed before July next year.
It remans unclear how the two sides will come to an agreement on hotly-contested issues like the UK’s future alignment with EU laws and the level of access to British waters given to European fishing fleets.
Mr Johnson has repeatedly rejected claims he could extend the transition period, which he said would mean the UK still paying into the EU budget and allowing freedom of movement.