Brexit: Political expert says mood in Brussels is 'upbeat'
Post-Brexit trade talks between the UK and EU continue to hang on a knife edge ahead of the official end of the transition period on December 31. However, there remains just a few days to get a trade deal over the line with MPs sent home for the Christmas break on Thursday evening and the European Parliament demanding a copy of the legal text by Sunday.
The deadlock between the two sides remain over the so-called level playing field on competition and fishing.
Former Brexit Party MEP James Wells has warned the outcome of the negotiations will end up gong really well or really badly, with no half measures.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Mr Wells said: “I think a lot of Brexiteers up and down the country are feeling the same, on the one hand they realise that actually this all could play out really well and Boris could have played a masterstroke.
“But then there is no ground in the middle ground, its either that or he is going to stitch the country up and sell us out.”
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Mr Wells, who represented Wales in the European Parliament, fears the UK is going to water down its position on the level playing field.
In order to strike a free trade deal, the EU has ordered the UK to follow a set of common rules and standards to prevent businesses in one country gaining a competitive advantage.
EU regulations would involve workers’ rights, environmental protection, taxation and state aid.
Mr Wells insisted the EU is playing hardball on the level playing field in order to stop Brexit being a success and prevent other member states leaving.
He added: “It does worry me that the signs are we have conceded something on the level playing field because that is the most important thing for them essentially.
“If we are not careful they will end up clipping our wings economically, which is obviously one of the things they want to do because they don’t want Brexit to be a success because others will follow.”
Boris Johnson held another call with European Commission President Ursula von der leyen this evening but were unable to break the impasse.
Number 10 spokeswoman admitted negotiations had reached a “serious situation” and said it is now “very likely” the UK will leave the bloc without a formal trade deal.
In a statement following the discussions, Downing Street warned “time was very short” and stated no agreement would be reached unless the position of the EU “changed substantially”.
Ms von der Leyen also acknowledged there are “big differences” between the two sides and closing the gap would be “very challenging”.
she said: “We welcomed substantial progress on many issues.
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“However, big differences remain to be bridged, in particular on fisheries. Bridging them will be very challenging.”
She confirmed talks between UK chief Brexit negotiator David Frost and Michel Barnier would resume on Friday.
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