It seems Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister of the UK has learned nothing. Despite negotiations faltering as the finish line comes closer into view, Boris Johnson has stated he will continue trying to negotiate with the EU.
Boris Johnson had set a deadline for the end of this week’s European Council summit to agree a deal with Brussels. Yet as seems to be the case now more than ever, negotiators failed to make progress on key issues such as fishing quotas, the level playing field and the governance deal.
Despite this failure and Boris Johnson’s statement that the UK should prepare for a no-deal scenario, he has left the door open for continued negotiation. Indeed, in the same statement in which he lambasted them, Johnson said. “If there is a fundamental change in approach from the EU, the UK will be willing to listen.” This seems to have been seen as a sign by the EU to keep the door open and allow for a few more weeks for negotiations.
But if Boris is so prepared for a no-deal, why is he still keeping the door open for continued negotiations?
The answer for that is simple. The business community in the UK, despite years of this back and forth, are not ready for a no-deal Brexit. In a survey conducted by the Institute of Directors only 21% of businesses had said that their business was ready for the end of the transition period and the potential of a no-deal Brexit.
Given this figure, it is not surprising that Boris is trying to keep negotiations going for as long as possible. If he leaves talks now without a deal, then the economy will suffer as businesses face the consequences of the new restrictions and laws. With Covid already wrecking the economy, the prospect of even more damage from a no-deal Brexit must be terrifying for Boris Johnson and his government.
Keeping negotiations going on with the EU is looking like someone just banging their head against a brick wall again and again. It is understandable that the Prime Minister does not want to cause another big economic dip with a no-deal, but he must surely understand that either he must give way or he must leave. The EU does not seem as though it will bend, and Britain’s negotiators are too weak or too foolish to realise this.