Prime minister Boris Johnson has confirmed there will be no extension to the transition period as the EU and UK recommence trade talks, Reuters reports.
Addressing concerns about Northern Ireland’s preparedness for 1 January, Boris Johnson ruled out an extension, but emphasised measures the government was taking to assist businesses.
“Of course, we’re not going to extend the transition period but we want to make practical arrangements to help businesses in Northern Ireland,” he said.
According to The Herald Scotland, the PM said initiatives included introducing a one-year adjustment period to prevent disruption to the flow of medicines.
Creative but firm
The PM’s statement came on the same day that European president Ursula von der Leyen said the EU is still not sure if there will be a deal or not, reports the Guardian.
Addressing the European Parliament yesterday, she promised the EU would be flexible in seeking a deal.
“We will do all in our power to reach an agreement. We’re ready to be creative,” she said. “But we are not ready to put into question the integrity of the single market, the main safeguard for European prosperity and wealth.”
EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier is due to recommence talks in London tomorrow (Friday) after a period of self-isolation due to a positive Covid test in his team. However, he warned his UK counterpart, David Frost, that without a major negotiating shift by Downing Street within the next 48 hours he will pull out of the Brexit negotiations.
In talks via videoconference on Tuesday, Barnier said that further negotiations would be pointless if the UK was not willing to compromise on the outstanding issues of fishing, the level playing field, and governance.