British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned the European Union on Wednesday it must scrap demands which he says are unacceptable if there is to be a Brexit trade deal to avoid a turbulent breakup in three weeks.
With fears growing of a chaotic no-deal finale to the five-year Brexit crisis, Johnson was heading to Brussels later on Wednesday for talks with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen over dinner at 1800 GMT.
Both sides cast the meeting as a chance to unlock the stalled trade talks but acknowledge there is a danger that there may be no trade deal in place when Britain finally leaves the EU’s orbit on Dec. 31.
Johnson said Brussels wanted the United Kingdom to comply with new EU laws in the future or be automatically punished, and was insisting it give up sovereign control over British fishing waters.
“I don’t believe that those are terms that any prime minister of this country should accept,” Johnson told the British parliament to cheers from lawmakers in his Conservative Party.
Johnson said “a good deal” could still be done if the EU scrapped its demands, but Britain would prosper with or without a trade deal.
A British government source said a deal may not be possible, as did EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.
Britain formally left the EU in January, but has since been in a transition period during which it remains in the EU single market and customs union, meaning that rules on trade, travel and business have stayed the same.