BORIS Johnson has called on the EU to put a “tiger in the tank” in Brexit talks and seal a deal in July.
The PM said today there needs to be some extra “oomph” in negotiations, after he forced EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen to agree an accelerated timetable for a trade deal.
The PM said this afternoon: “(We need) to put a tiger in the tank because it’s very clear what the UK needs and our EU friends need.
“I don’t think we’re that far apart but what we need to see now is a bit of oomph in the negotiations and I was very pleased that Ursula von Der Leyen (and the European bosses) all agreed to sign up to a good statement to take us forward.
“What we all really said is the faster we can do this the better – there is no reason why you shouldn’t get this done in July.”
Mr Johnson told the President of the European Council Charles Michel, President of the EU Commission Ms von der Leyen and President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, there needs to be a “renewed energy and commitment” in negotiations.
The PM will push forward with leaving the EU on December 31 with or without a deal.
A spokesperson for No10 said this lunchtime: “We now need to get this resolved and deliver certainty for businesses at home and in the EU
“Whatever happens, we will be ready for January 1 where we will take control of our laws, borders and our money.
“We have agreed a programme for intensified discussions beginning next month.”
Ms Von der Leyen said today: “The EU is ready to intensify the talks, we are available 24/7.
“Let’s inject fresh momentum into the negotiations.”
The efforts to speed up the timetable come after the World Trade Organisation boss warned Britain’s recovery from COVID-19 could be hampered by no-deal.
A joint UK-EU statement after the talks today stressed the transition period would end at the end of the year, despite EU bosses pushing for an extending because of coronavirus.
The statement said: “The Paties agreed nevertheless that new momentum was required.
“They supported the plans agreed by Chief Negotiators to intensify the talks in July and to create the most conducive conditions for concluding and ratifying a deal before the end of 2020.
“The Parties underlined their intention to work hard to deliver a relationship, which would work in the interests of the citizens of the Union and of the United Kingdom.”
The WTO has predicted that global trade could fall by a third because of the pandemic.
WTO director-general Roberto Azevêdo warned the car industry and agriculture would be among the worst hit sectors if Britain didn’t thrash out a deal with the bloc.
The PM is expected to go to great lengths to protect jobs in the car industry in a speech to reboot the economy next month.
One of the policies could offer Brits up to £6,000 to trade in old diesel and petrols cars for electric cars in a bid to boost sales at companies such as Nissan who employ thousands at their Sunderland factory.
But Mr Azevêdo said they would be subjected to heavy tariffs if the UK defaults to WTO trading rules under a no-deal Brexit.
Mr Johnson wants a deal which gives Britain tariff-free access to EU markets but he has insisted the nation has nothing to fear by trading on WTO terms.
The PM has stressed giving business certainty there will be no extension to the transition period with the EU – where the UK still has to follow the bloc’s rules – is more important.
Mr Azevêdo told The Andrew Marr Show on BBC One WTO trade rules were “not a catastrophe” he said they “will impose a number of adjustments and those can be painful, particularly for some sectors”.
He added: “The less disruption the better, the less turbulence the better, and less turbulence is the closest to where you were before.
“So if you can maintain the degree of integration and relationship that you had before Brexit, it is less traumatic than if you have to go to WTO terms.”
The WTO boss thought there was a “good chance” the UK and EU would find a deal if there is “political will” to do so.
He said: “If people realise that a no-deal scenario is much less than optimal, I’m pretty confident that negotiators could do this in a reasonable way with a reasonable time frame.”
A group of cross-party MPs are trying to get the Government to allow a vote on extending the transition period.
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