Britain’s Chancellor has reaffirmed his government’s commitment to a Brexit trade agreement with the EU, describing it as “preferable,” but warned Brussels that London won’t be making any unwanted concessions to get a deal done.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, told Sky News on Thursday that he remains “hopeful and confident” that a post-Brexit trade deal will be agreed, adding that “with a constructive attitude and good will on all sides, we can get there.”
Sunak, largely echoing the British prime minister’s lead, described a deal as a “preferable” outcome but said: “We absolutely should not be stretching for a deal at any cost, that is not the right thing to do.”
The Chancellor claimed the UK has always been transparent with the EU and that he hoped Brussels would realise that the “vast majority” of details the UK wants included in an agreement are things the EU have already agreed with other trade partners.
“We’ve put an enormous amount of effort and resource into preparing the country for the change in our trading relationship” he added.
Also speaking on Thursday, European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen warned that Europe was preparing for the very real possibility that the UK will leave the EU without a deal.
Von der Leyen spoke of “genuine progress” between the two negotiating parties but was also concerned it would be too little, too late.
Last week, both parties issued positive statements regarding the possibility of a post-Brexit trade deal.
Von der Leyen said that progress had been made on one of the sticking points, state aid, while EU diplomats believed there was real “momentum” and a feeling “that somehow we will find a way.”
As it stands, the UK’s current trading relationship with the European bloc will end in five weeks.
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