Brexit: Raab claims EU will pay price of failing to strike a deal and attacks ‘outlandish’ demands

‘The EU is concerned actually Britain might do rather well once we leave the EU and is worried about the competitive advantage’

Rob Merrick
Deputy Political Editor
Sunday 13 December 2020 09:57 GMT
Dominic Raab says it's in EU's interest to confirm a deal before January

The EU will pay the price of a failing to strike a trade deal with the UK, Dominic Raab claims, arguing it is “worried” that Brexit will be a success.

Ahead of the crunch decision whether to abandon the talks, the Foreign Secretary laid bare the frosty atmosphere – lashing out at Brussels for its “outlandish” demands which “don't get more reasonable by repetition”.

Mr Raab said there is still “every reason to be confident” of a breakthrough, but warned the EU would have to move “a long way” for the talks to succeed now.

And he warned Brussels the terms on offer would not become more favourable next year, saying “The reality for the EU is that their point of pressure is now.

“After 1 January 1, the idea they could somehow win concessions later that they can’t win now is I think is for the birds.”

Mr Raab told Sky News: “I think the EU is concerned actually Britain might do rather well once we leave the EU and is worried about the competitive advantage.”

But the idea that the UK will be in a stronger position next year, was ridiculed by Ed Miliband, Labour’s business secretary, who said: “No deal is not an end game.

“We will go through pain, all the anguish It is not a sustainable position to have tariffs with our biggest market. We will have to go back into the negotiating table.”

The EU is determined to protect its single market from UK undercutting, by lowering ‘level playing field’ standards’ on state aid, workers’ rights and the environment.

However, official forecasts predict a no-deal will swipe £40bn from the UK economy next year, putting 300,000 people out of work, amid warnings of border chaos and higher food prices.

Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president, are expected to speak at lunchtime on Sunday – and pull stumps on the negotiations if they believe there is no prospect of them succeeding.

The UK would then have to decide whether to accept the ‘mini-deals’ proposed by Brussels – to keep planes in the air and lorries with food and medicines rolling – but at the price of the competition rules it is demanding.

There is also a growing risk of clashes in the Channel over fish, where the UK is bolstering its defences with four Royal Navy patrol ships as the EU seeks continued access to its fish-rich waters.

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