January 16, 2021

Von der Leyen triggers emergency no-deal Brexit plans after Barniers alarming update – Daily Express


Brussels’ boss Ursula von der Leyen was told eurocrats must get to work on emergency plans because a “no-deal outcome cannot be excluded”. Member states were issued the warning after Mr Barnier told a private meeting of EU27 ambassadors reaching a deal will be “impossible” if Boris Johnson refuses to surrender on fishing rights and state aid rules. An EU diplomat said: “Ambassadors took note of the fact that a deal cannot be guaranteed at this stage and a no-deal outcome cannot be excluded.


“There was consensus among Ambassadors that the EU needs to prepare diligently for all possible outcomes.”

The senior diplomats ordered the Commission to “present contingency measures and the corresponding legislative proposals for a no-deal outcome urgently and without further delay”, the source added.

In a gloomy assessment of the Brexit trade talks, Mr Barnier was unable to confirm whether a deal was possible or not.

The Frenchman will this evening travel to London to resume face-to-face wrangling with UK counterpart Lord Frost.

Ursula von der Leyen

Ursula von der Leyen was told to immediately plan for a no-deal Brexit (Image: GETTY)

Ursula von der Leyen

Ursula von der Leyen is the EU Commission’s president (Image: EbS)

The pair have been at a constant loggerheads over future access to Britain’s coastal waters and the bloc’s demand for common standards.

Mr Barnier believes a trade-off is there to be done but it requires a political shift from Downing Street.

The diplomat said: “The gaps on level playing field, governance and fisheries remain large.

Michel Barnier

Michel Barnier will return to London for face-to-face talks today (Image: GETTY)

“Michel Barnier wasn’t able to to say at this stage whether a deal would be possible.

“Without London taking the necessary decisions quickly, reaching a deal will be all but impossible.

“Time is running out quickly. There are only a few days left for further negotiations.”

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Brexit timeline

What needs to be done to get a Brexit trade deal over the line (Image: EXPRESS)

But this morning Boris Johnson refused to rattled by the EU’s insistence that he needs to change his stance to secure a deal.

The Prime Minister said there is an agreement on the table that Brussels could simply sign up to.

He said: “The likelihood of a deal is very much determined by our friends and partners in the EU.

“There a deal to be done if they want to do it, which I think would benefit people on both sides of the Channel.

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“But let’s be absolutely clear, this country can prosper and will prosper mightily in either event.

“If we have to come out with a so-called Australian-style model, or Australian relationship, with the EU, we will make a great success of it.

“Everybody is working very hard but clearly there are still substantial and important differences to be bridged, but we are getting on with it.”