Mayor of London urges EU and UK to continue talks until trade deal is reached

Sadiq Khan’s plea comes just ahead of a key meeting over dinner in Brussels later on Wednesday between Ursula von der Leyen and Boris Johnson.
Sadiq Khan

By Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at the Parliament Magazine

09 Dec 2020

Most see Wednesday evening’s meeting as a last chance to salvage a trade deal.

Earlier on Wednesday, in a speech to the Committee of Regions (CoR) in Brussels, Khan warned that a No Deal would have a catastrophic impact, causing a detrimental “lose-lose” spiral for many regions and cities in the EU and the UK.

The Mayor called for an immediate extension of the transition period if a trade deal cannot be agreed as part of ongoing negotiations.

EU and UK local and regional governments also committed to stepping up joint efforts to mitigate Brexit and cooperate long into the future on issues such as climate change and migration.

Speaking during the debate, Khan said, “Brexit has happened and we have an obligation to look to the future, not the past.”

“For the moment, we still have major divergences, on the well-known issues of level playing field, governance and fisheries. The next days will be very important. In any event, we should all continue the preparations for all scenarios, including a No Deal on 1 January 2021”

Michel Barnier, EU chief Brexit negotiator

The Labour politician told the CoR meeting, “We need to work together on shared challenges – across cities, regions and countries. I want to ensure London remains a key partner for Brussels and every European city, region and national. If a trade deal cannot be reached in the next few days, I’d urge Boris Johnson and the EU to extend the transition period.”

“A no-deal outcome should simply not be an option. It would be a lose-lose situation for both the UK and the EU – costing jobs, reducing growth and hitting living standards across Europe just when we’re at a crucial point in our fight against the pandemic.”

In the midst of the ongoing EU-UK negotiations, Michel Barnier, head of the Task Force for Relations with the UK, also sent a message.

He said, “We keep working for an ambitious partnership between the EU and the UK which would help people, local communities, and also businesses and regions, to pursue their cooperation in the best possible way in the future.”

“But, while we remain open to finding mutually beneficial solutions, as we always have been, the EU will not make a deal at any price. Any deal would have to preserve our single market and the long-term economic interests of EU citizens, businesses and regions.”

“If a trade deal cannot be reached in the next few days, I’d urge Boris Johnson and the EU to extend the transition period. A no-deal outcome should simply not be an option. It would be a lose-lose situation for both the UK and the EU” Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

“For the moment, we still have major divergences, on the well-known issues of level playing field, governance and fisheries. The next days will be very important. In any event, we should all continue the preparations for all scenarios, including a No Deal on 1 January 2021.”

With less than three weeks to go before the end of the UK’s transition period and the future UK-EU trade deal on a knife edge, Khan and EU local and regional leaders at the CoR plenary raised concerns about the severe implications of a No Deal.

They said they were committed to working closely together, to ensure that the territorial impact of Brexit is regularly assessed and to work together on areas of mutual interest into the future.

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