EU has legal obligation to discuss future UK trade deal - Boris Johnson

Posted On: 
9th September 2017

The European Union is dodging its legal responsibilities by not discussing the possibility of a trade deal with the UK, despite Britain’s exit from the bloc, the Foreign Secretary has said.

The EU has a legal requirement to discuss a trade deal with the UK, Boris Johnson has said.
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Boris Johnson told reporters in the Estonian capital Tallinn he had “absolutely rock solid confidence” the EU would do a trade deal with the UK.

“Article 50 makes it very clear that the discussion about the exit for a country must be taken in the context of a discussion of the future arrangements, and that’s what we are going to do,” Mr Johnson said.

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Despite Mr Johnson’s unwavering faith in the possibility of a trade deal, the EU’s negotiators have expressed displeasure at the way talks over the divorce bill are progressing.

The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, along with leaders from the European Parliament, expressed doubt trade negotiations would start in October.

They pointed to failures to agree the nature of EU citizens’ rights, the border with Ireland and UK’s final contribution to the bloc.

Mr Barnier rejected the UK’s initial proposals for a border with Ireland, claiming they could compromise the single market.

However, Johnson told reporters that a suitable arrangement over the Irish border would be found between the negotiating parties and made light of the EU’s concerns.

“I think we can all work together to come up with a solution to that one,” he said. “It is not beyond the wit of man. We have had a common travel area between the north and south of Ireland for getting on for a century. We are going to continue to make that work.”

MEPs will be asked on October 2nd to vote on the progress of Brexit negotiations and if they feel there has been sufficient progress to allow the start of trade talks.

The European Parliament can veto any agreement between the EU and the UK.