UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday called a halt to talks with Brussels on a post-Brexit free trade agreement, warning Britain to prepare for a final no-deal break with the European Union.
He accused EU leaders of seeking to impose a series of ‘unacceptable’ demands and called for a ‘fundamental change of approach’ if there was to be any agreement.
The immediate response from European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen was to say that the EU would carry on negotiating, with talks next week in London going ahead as planned.
It all comes as efforts are stepped up to ensure the Bailiwick protects its constitutional position and control of its fishing grounds in the face of a threat from the UK to legislate for the island.
Mr Johnson said it was clear the EU was not prepared to offer Britain the kind of Canada-style free trade agreement it was seeking and that businesses and individuals should now start preparing to start trading with the EU on World Trade Organisation rules such as Australia when the current Brexit transition period ends at the end of the year.
A Policy & Resources spokesperson said that the States had been planning for all eventualities in respect of Brexit negotiations.
‘Plans were developed in advance of each stage of the UK’s exit from the EU. Similar plans are in place for the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020,’ they said.
‘This includes close working with the UK Government and relevant regional authorities. We continue to strongly encourage businesses to ensure they have plans in place for the end of the transition period whether an UK-EU trade agreement is in place or not. Individuals who plan to travel are also encouraged to plan for the end of the transition period, including checking arrangements for pet travel and passport validity. EU nationals resident in Guernsey who have not yet applied for settled status should not delay in doing so.’
The UK’s Fisheries Bill sets the groundwork for how it will manage its waters post-Brexit, but this week the government inserted a clause that would allow it to extend provisions to meet international standards to the Channel Islands.
‘The Policy & Resources Committee was consulted about the permissive extent clause and declined the opportunity to have it inserted, because these obligations can be implemented through domestic legislation. While the insertion of the clause into the bill is not what was agreed, the activation of the permissive extent clause would require the agreement of the Bailiwick. Discussions with the UK Government and parliamentarians are continuing before the bill returns to the Lords for the final stages.’
Both the House of Commons and House of Lords have to agree to the text of the bill.