Prime Minister Boris Johnson is drawing up plans to renege on the UK’s Brexit deal on Northern Irish border checks. In a move that could bring Brexit trade talks to a dramatic halt as they enter a crucial final phase, Downing Street will publish legislation to override agreements it has already made today. In an attempt to put pressure on the EU to concede to Britain’s demands on fishing rights and state aid, Mr Johnson also issued an ultimatum. He said that no deal would be a “good outcome” for Britain and set the October deadline.
Although the UK formally left the EU in January, it has continued to follow rules set in Brussels during a transition period – which ends on December 31 – while discussions over a long-term trade agreement continue.
Another round of talks – the eighth – began yesterday, but neither side is expecting a breakthrough.
As the country prepares to say goodbye to the bloc for good, unearthed reports shed light on the dire consequences Germany will have to face if the EU and the UK end up without a trade agreement in place.
Since the 2016 EU referendum, industrialists have been warning that the German manufacturing industry in particular, which is a source of huge national pride, will be badly hit by the imposition of barriers after Brexit.
In 2017, Professor Thorsten Polleit told Express.co.uk that eurocrats would have harmed “the interest of people in the EU” if they continued to pursue their antagonistic tone towards Britain.
Professor Polleit said: “Sooner or later the free market system is going to be replaced by a system of coercion.
“This is the problem of the EU and now Great Britain is trying to get out and of course the remaining European interest groups don’t take kindly to this.
“You can expect them to do their best to give Britain a hard time to prevent the impression that an exit can be beneficial to a member state. So I can imagine that Brussels tries to give Great Britain a hard time and that includes a protectionist restriction on free trade.
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“They won’t only harm British interests, they will also harm the interest of people in the EU. Because if you interfere and hamper free trade you reduce the material benefits that can be achieved, so it’s a lose-lose strategy which is being pursued in Brussels at this juncture.”
Asked what impact he thought a ‘no deal’ scenario would have on the German economy, the respected economist replied: “Germany has very much to lose once free trade is getting restricted vis-a-vis Great Britain.
“Germany is highly dependent on the demand in other countries, we keep exporting like hell, so German firms have customers in many countries around the world.
“And without these markets economic growth and the employment situation in Germany cannot be sustained, so Germany has a vital interest that there is free trade.”
He added: “In corporate Germany, most CEOS are very aware that free trade is very important for the wellbeing of the economy.”
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Professor Polleit’s views were echoed by Brexit-backing British academic Professor Patrick Minford, who said failing to secure a favourable deal is against Germany’s national interest.
He said: “The German political sentiment is very pro-EU, but on the economics side they are quite free market.
“For the Germans, it’s against their national interest to have any barriers between us.
“They sell so much here, but there’s an awful lot of nations to be kept quiet and it’s very hard to know what the EU will do – we just have to be calm about it.”