London (Brussels Morning) The UK prime minister Boris Johnson has told Britons to brace themselves for a no-deal Brexit as negotiating parties on a UK-EU trade deal reach an impasse.
Johnson made the television address Friday, and while talks are ongoing, he warned that people should prepare for a no-deal come the new year.
The prime minister has previously set 15 October, the beginning of the EU Summit, as the deadline for determining whether a deal could be reached with the bloc.
Talks will continue the following week, but with neither party budging to date, recent optimism has waned.
Johnson acknowledged progress on various issues from social security to nuclear cooperation but said, “for whatever reason, it’s clear from the [EU] summit that after 45 years of [UK] membership they are not willing, unless there’s some fundamental change of approach, to offer this country the same terms as Canada”.
In light o the looming end date of the transition period, a judgment call had to be made about the likelihood the UK and EU parties would come to terms so that the rest of the country could prepare.
“I concluded that we should get ready for 1 January with arrangements that are more like Australia’s – based on simple principles of global free trade”, Johnson told reporters.
Australia’s trade agreement with the EU relies on World Trade Organization rules that itself says are not ideal and are seeking new terms.
“So, we have high hearts, and with complete confidence, we will prepare to embrace the alternative, and we will prosper mightily as an independent free-trading nation, controlling our own borders, our fisheries, and setting our own laws”, Johnson added.
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has said the bloc would continue to work for a deal but “not at any price”.
Talks next week will take place in London.