Britain ready to abandon post-Brexit trade deal hopes

Any hope of a post-Brexit EU-UK deal now appears dead. Differences over fishing rights, the role of the European Court of Justice and the so-called level playing field guarantees remain seemingly insurmountable, and Boris Johnson's July deadline is just around the corner.

In Brussels itself all attention has been focussed on the somewhat fraught budget deal negotiations which have exposed the differences between the 27 remaining EU member states in which the leaders argued and thumped the table before finally agreeing on a cripplingly expensive course of action which is not what any of them really wanted.As a result, little attention has been paid to this week's talks between David Frost and Michel Barnier and their respective teams.

The EU has apparently approached the subject of Brexit working on the assumption it would never happen. It's happened. Britain in the meantime has been pursuing trade deals with other countries, and is setting up its own sanctions regime.

Brexit is, however, not a single event, but a process that requires time and good judgement. One wonders, even at this stage, if the European Commission has even looked at what WTO rules could mean for the German car and French wine industries - to name but two - that are so heavily reliant on the UK market.

The UK government reportedly remains hopeful that a "basic deal" can be arranged.

A senior source told Britain's Daily Telegraph: "The Government has been making it clear for a while now that it is prepared for no deal. Britain isn't going to budge on fundamentals like fishing rights, so it's all in the hands of the EU."

Brussels eurocrats are now settling down for their long Summer break, and so little will be done between now and September. A strong sense of urgency, however, may be called for on both sides of the English Channel.

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Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright is publishing editor of EU Today.

An experienced journalist and published author, he specialises in environment, energy, and defence.

He also has more than 10 years experience of working as a staff member in the EU institutions, working with political groups and MEPs in various policy areas.

Gary's latest book WANTED MAN: THE STORY OF MUKHTAR ABLYAZOV: A Manual for Criminals on How to Avoid Punishment in the EU is currently available from Amazon

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