USA is ready to rock with the UK on 01 Feb – the EU isn’t

With “ze clock teeking”, the EU seems determined to waste more time

© Twitter, US Ambassador

Brexit Facts4EU.Org sheds some Brexit light on the murky world of EU delays

Yesterday the US Ambassador to the Court of St James, Ambassador Woody Johnson, made it perfectly and very publicly clear that the United States is ready to start formal trade talks the moment the UK leaves the EU.

Unfortunately, unlike the US, the EU will not be ready.

Ambassador Johnson stated yesterday that the USA is ready to start agreeing new trade arrangements with the UK in two weeks’ time - on 01 February – the day after the United Kingdom exits the EU (albeit in name only).

How is it possible that the EU is not ready to start trade talks after all this time?

Brexit Facts4EU.Org Summary

EU-UK trade talks – the current position and the extra EU delays

  • On 01 February, (first day after Brexit), the EU will NOT be ready to negotiate
  • When drafted, the Commission’s proposed mandate needs to be discussed by the EU27 governments
  • The EU will not be ready to negotiate trade with the UK until March
  • March will be three years and nine months after the UK voted to leave the EU
  • This is just three months before the notice period to extend the end of the Transition Period expires
  • It is just nine months before the UK will leave the EU and trade independently

On the other hand, the USA is ready to start

Credit: Twitter, US Ambasssador

EU Commission picks Juncker’s Spanish Europhile Head of Cabinet for key role in UK negotiations

Jean-Claude Juncker’s former chief of staff Clara Martínez Alberola has just become the EU’s deputy chief Brexit negotiator, working with Michel Barnier. She only started work one week ago, on Monday 06 January.

In the 1980s Ms Martinez Alberola attended the College of Europe in Brussels, as well as the Université Libre de Bruxelles. Aged 56, she has only ever worked as a technocrat for the EU.

Is the EU really a credible international organisation?

The EU Commission still has not even drafted its proposed mandate for negotiating a trade agreement with the United Kingdom. According to Monsieur Barnier, speaking in Sweden last week, he hopes they will have completed this by 01 February.

This is the same day that the USA is ready to start agreeing trade terms with the post-Brexit UK. While the United States is pressing ahead, the EU will still be talking amongst themselves.

Once the Commission has produced its “negotiating mandate”, it then has to propose this to the EU27 governments for approval. It is expected that there will be some disagreements. Some governments will insist on prioritising certain issues, such as full access to British waters, whereas others will care far more about the bulk of the trading arrangements between the EU and the UK.

We expect this to be discussed at the General Affairs Council on 25 February although no agenda has yet been produced. Monsier Barnier himself hopes that the final mandate will be agreed by the end of Feb/early March. Only then can the first negotiating meetings with the UK’s team be planned.

Chairman of the ERG Steve Baker MP stresses need for parallel trade talks

"This is no time for timidity. Parallel negotiations will stop us becoming a rule-taking satellite of Brussels," says former Brexit Minister Steve Baker MP, the Chairman of the ERG - the main grouping of Eurosceptic Conservative MPs in Parliament.

In a powerful article in the Daily Telegraph yesterday (FREE link), Steve Baker MP laid out the compelling case for conducting trade negotiations with worldwide partners, without waiting for the EU.

It was this article that the US Ambassador responded to so quickly.


Many readers will be astonished that the EU is still not be ready to negotiate the future trading arrangements between the EU and the UK, nearly four years after the UK’s EU Referendum took place.

Instead, the EU followed a policy of delay and obfuscation, introducing contrived ‘priority areas’ which had to be agreed before they would discuss anything else at all. Unsurprisingly one of these was money, and Theresa May meekly gave into to this demand. Rather more surprisingly the new Johnson Government has not challenged this.

On a more positive note, many countries are queueing up to talk trade with the UK and it is clear that the USA is enthusiastic to start. Others such as Australia and New Zealand have long indicated their keenness.

The irony of all this, of course, is that there is not – and never was – any legal restriction on the UK negotiating trade deals with other countries, provided the actual deals did not start until after the UK had left the EU.

We were the first to say this in 2016, and our position was backed up a month later when Lawyers for Britain published their opinion. We are well aware that some of the mainstream media such as the BBC do not seem to know this, and continue to report incorrectly, but that is the case.

Nevertheless, we are where we are. And countries like the US are champing at the bit, whereas the EU donkey is plodding along at its own pace. This in itself shows how the British people chose the right course back in 2016.

Finally, we hope that readers will back our work with donations to keep us going at this important time for Brexit. Quick and secure donation methods are below. We can't do this without you. Thank you.

[ Sources: EU Commission Article 50 Taskforce | US Ambassador | Steve Baker MP ] Politicians and journalists can contact us for details, as ever.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org, 14 Jan 2020

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