“If we have to go for an Australian solution, that’s fine,” said the Prime Minister, with less than three weeks before the country leaves the EU’s single market.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday that Britain and the European Union remained distant as he prepared to travel to Brussels to try to salvage a post-Brexit trade deal.
“I’m still hopeful, but I have to be honest with you, the situation right now is delicate,” he said, visiting a hospital in London for Britain. historical deployment a vaccine against the coronavirus.
“Our friends must understand that the UK left the EU to exercise democratic control. We are still a long way off, ”he added, ahead of face-to-face talks with European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen later this week.
“It seems very difficult at the moment. We will do our best. I would tell everyone that there are great options ahead for our country.
When asked if he would try to strike a deal until the time of the transfer, Johnson replied: “Yes, of course.”
“We always have hope, but you know there may come a time when we have to recognize that it’s time to draw stumps and that’s how it is,” Johnson said, referring to a term cricket for the end of the game.
“We will thrive mightily under any version and if we have to go for an Australian solution, that is fine too.”
After the negotiating teams’ last session in Brussels – and just over three weeks before Britain left the EU’s single market on December 31 – Johnson had a phone call with von der Leyen late on Monday and got an invitation to attend in person.
“We have agreed that the conditions to finalize a deal are not met due to the significant differences that remain on three critical issues: a level playing field, governance and fisheries,” the duo said in a joint statement.
“We asked our chief negotiators and their teams to prepare an overview of the remaining differences to be discussed in a physical meeting in Brussels in the coming days.”
It was not immediately clear whether Johnson’s visit would be a separate event, or if he could be listed ahead of an EU summit on Thursday, with the 27 EU leaders meeting in person.
The announcement of Johnson’s trip came after a pessimistic day of talks, during which EU negotiator Michel Barnier told skeptical members of the European Parliament that Wednesday was the effective deadline for a solution before the summit.
Barnier and his British counterpart David Frost were due to hold another session on Tuesday in Brussels to take stock of their progress and write a report for their leaders.
“The two sides will make additional efforts to reach an agreement,” said German Minister for Europe, Michael Roth.
“We want to come to an agreement, but not at any cost. What we need is political will in London.
“Let me be very clear: our future relationship is based on trust and trust. It is precisely this confidence that is at stake in our negotiations at this time.
In an olive branch, the UK government has said it is ready to revoke clauses in Brexit legislation that have sparked EU legal action and undermined confidence in London.
However, he kept the clauses intact as a “fallback option” when the Home Market bill returned to debate in the House of Commons on Monday.
MPs voted to keep them in the text, rejecting an offer from the Upper House of Lords to excise them.
Britain left the EU on January 31 and entered a transition period to allow negotiations to establish a trade relationship with zero tariffs and zero quotas.
Sources agree that the most difficult question has been how to ensure fair trade in future relations and establish a rapid sanction mechanism should either party go back on, for example, environmental standards or sanitary facilities.
The EU fears Britain will reduce its regulations, which could allow its businesses to downsize European businesses.
But Britain is very reluctant to accept a broad and binding agreement, seeing it as a violation of its regained sovereignty after 47 years of European integration.
Fishing also remains a point of friction.