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The EU warns that if there is no post Brexit agreement at the end of 2020 it will be á again “on the edge of the abyss”

December 18, 2019
Ursula Von der Leyen

Ursula Von der Leyen – Thierry Roge / BELGA / dpa


The president of the European Commission, the German conservative Ursula von der Leyen, has warned on Tuesday of the difficulties in negotiating the conditions of the new relationship with the United Kingdom as a third country within the deadline, December 2020, while alerting that if you don't get Europeans and Britons they will be again “on the edge of the abyss”.

The EU warns that if there is no post Brexit agreement at the end of 2020 it will be á again “on the edge of the abyss”
The EU warns that if there is no post Brexit agreement at the end of 2020 it will be á again “on the edge of the abyss”

“The deadlines are very tight. The agreement has to be concluded in December 2020 and that leaves very little time. But if we are not able to do so we will be again on the edge of the abyss,” said Von der Leyen in a debate in the plenary of the European Parliament on the results of the last summit in Twenty-eight.

The head of the Community Executive has assured that if the new British Parliament that emerges from the elections last week complies with the ratification of the divorce agreement in time for Brexit to be scheduled on January 31, then the community services will present the 1 February the new mandate with the EU red lines to immediately start the new framework talks.

To avoid the abrupt rupture, the withdrawal pact provides for a transition period during which the United Kingdom loses its right to vote in the EU but the current rules of its relationship with the bloc are still applied, with the aim of giving the parties the time to negotiate in detail the pillars of the future relationship.

This period will end on December 31 of next year if an extension is not agreed, although British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has already said that he discards asking for any postponement.

Once Brexit occurs, the European Union aims to build the “closest possible” relationship with the British, although it will be a “very different” relationship to the current one, said Von der Leyen.

Thus, he has warned that if negotiations are frustrated to achieve an ambitious trade pact for the future in the eleven months of the transition period set, the situation will be harmful for both parties, but more severely for the United Kingdom.

The European Union, Von der Leyen recalled, will continue to enjoy after the rupture of the advantages and guarantees offered by the Single Market and the Customs Union, as well as the relationships created with the more than seven hundred trade agreements that the EU has with third countries .

However, he said that the block “is not interested” in this situation and therefore will work to advance as much as possible in the negotiations, which will again be directed by Michel Barnier, to whom the Twenty-seven have renewed their confidence as an interlocutor with London.

“I hope for the good of the European Union and the United Kingdom that an unprecedented partnership is generated. This is not the end, it is the beginning of a new relationship between neighbors and I hope we are good neighbors,” the German policy has concluded.

During his speech, Von der Leyen had words of recognition for British MEPs who for decades have worked for the European project and defended that the United Kingdom should continue to be a Member State, while granting that “we will not miss the that shout “, in allusion to the Eurosceptics.

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