“It takes two to tango. It is time for the UK to live up to the ambitious timetable. The clock is ticking even faster, while we are not seeing any signal from across the Channel of extending the transition period. Progress in the negotiations is not forthcoming. The outstanding workload is colossal, especially as regards the level playing field, cooperation on security, the governance of the future partnership and fisheries,” Hansen stressed.
“Regarding fisheries, the UK only put forward its proposal last week. I fail to see how this delay corresponds to the more than ambitious timetable imposed by the UK and to the joint commitment taken to use the best endeavours to conclude and ratify an agreement on fisheries by the 1st of July,” Hansen continued.
For Hansen, this is symptomatic of a larger problem: “The UK government’s reluctance over the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement and the Political Declaration does not bode well for the negotiations on the future partnership. The true litmus test for the good faith of the UK remains the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement. We need to see preparations start now, not only in December. The lack of progress combined with the refusal to extend the transition period lends credit to the idea that the UK has chosen to pass off the impact of a no-deal Brexit as collateral damage of the pandemic – a strategy that I have thus far thought too reckless to be real,” said Hansen.
Turning to the start of negotiations between the UK and the US, Hansen commented: “I wish the UK well in this endeavour. However, juggling several negotiations while dealing with the fall-out of a pandemic sounds ambitious. I hope that this won’t negatively impact the focus and resources the UK will be able to dedicate to the negotiations with its largest and closest market and neighbour.”