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Iran Press TV

Germany's Foreign Minister warns hard Brexit increasingly likely to happen as UK-EU talks stall

Iran Press TV

Saturday, 09 May 2020 2:22 PM

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has warned that the risk of a hard Brexit is increasingly likely for the United Kingdom as London has so far made almost no progress in talks with the European Union (EU) on the future trade relationship, criticizing Britain for disregarding the agreed political agreement.

In an interview with Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper on Saturday, the German top diplomat expressed his concern amid floundering trade talks between London and Brussels, which have not reached an agreement yet on whether to extend the negotiation period beyond the current year.

"It's worrying that Britain is moving further away from our jointly agreed political declaration on key issues in the negotiations," Maas said, noting, "It's simply not on, because the negotiations are a complete package as it's laid out in the political declaration."

The UK officially exited the EU in January and negotiations with the EU are now concentrated on establishing new trading terms from the beginning of 2021, when the British government status quo transition period ends.

The administration of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has already rejected an extension of the end-of-the-year deadline, but the EU appears to have been striving, during the past couple of weeks, for pushing the deadline further into 2021.

The EU seems to strive for convincing Jonson to fold again, after he famously said that he would "rather be dead in a ditch" than agree to extend Brexit only two weeks before he indeed requested for an extension.

The German foreign minister further said that at the time there was neither common ground on how to structure a comprehensive trade deal or on whether to extend the negotiation period beyond its deadline.

"The British government is still refusing to extend the deadline. If it stays that way, we will have to deal with Brexit in addition to the coronavirus at the turn of the year," Maas said.

On Friday, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney, for his part, warned that the COVID-19 pandemic had made an already difficult timeline for a UK-EU trade deal "virtually impossible" and that it would make sense to extend the current deadline.

It seems that the EU is pursuing a flawed strategy in convincing Johnson to give more time, if this is the case, as incumbent British premier now enjoys a respectable majority in Parliament, and has far more control over his Conservative Party than the fractured one his predecessor, Theresa May, left for him.

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