UK on path to Brexit deadline
December 18, 2019 - Prime Minister Boris Johnson is moving ahead with Brexit, and wants to negotiate a trade deal with the European Union by the end of 2020.
A top priority for Britain’s government will be Johnson’s Withdrawal Agreement Bill, the law needed to make Brexit a reality. It must become law before January 31 if Johnson is to stick to his timetable, and the government plans to hold the first significant vote on it Friday.
The bill commits Britain to leaving the EU on January 31 and to concluding trade talks by the end of 2020. Johnson insists he won’t agree to any more delay – a vow that has set off alarm bells among businesses, who fear it means the country will face a “no-deal” Brexit at the start of 2021.
Trade experts and EU officials say striking a free trade deal in only 11 months will be a struggle. EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called the timetable “extremely challenging.”
Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, said “it won’t be possible … in this limited time to do everything. But we will do everything we can.”