Germany on Tuesday demanded “substantive” movement from Britain on fisheries, dispute settlement and fair competition guarantees in post-Brexit trade talks with the European Union, which it said were “at a very critical stage”.
Britain, home to the world’s sixth-biggest economy, in January became the only country to leave the EU. It has since been locked in painstaking talks with the world’s largest trading bloc to keep trade flowing freely despite Brexit.
With a year-end deadline nearing to put new trading arrangements in place, German EU affairs minister Michael Roth said the EU was working hard for a deal, but was also ready to trade from 2021 without an accord to avoid tariffs or quotas.
“We are at a very critical stage in the negotiations and we are extremely under pressure. Time is running out,” Roth said as he arrived for talks about Brexit in Luxembourg with ministers from the bloc’s 27 member states.
“That’s why we expect substantial progress by our friends in the United Kingdom in key areas: in particular on governance, ‘level playing field’ and fisheries.