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With Boris Johnson warning the UK will walk away from negotiations if a deal is not agreed in October, German economists have now revealed their fear over the ramifications to the economy. If the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier fails to come to an agreement with the UK, German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) chief, Martin Wansleben, warned companies are now running out of time to make post-Brexit preparations. Mr Wansleben also admitted progress needed to be made in order for a deal to then be ratified by the EU Parliament before the turn of the year.
He told the Funke-Media group: “The German economy is very concerned that the Brexit negotiations on future economic relations are still not making progress.
“Definitely, companies have to adjust to longer processing times at the borders as well as to customs bureaucracy and double approval procedures for products.
“The uncertainty among German companies is palpable – in a situation where they have already been shaken up by the corona crisis.”
In a bombshell announcement, the Prime Minister warned substantial progress must be made during this week’s round of negotiations.
If a deal is not agreed by the time of the next European Council summit on October 15, he insisted a free trade agreement will not be reached between the two.
He said in a statement: “The EU have been very clear about the timetable. I am too.
“There needs to be an agreement with our European friends by the time of the European Council on 15 October if it’s going to be in force by the end of the year.
“So there is no sense in thinking about timelines that go beyond that point.
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“If we can’t agree by then, then I do not see that there will be a free trade agreement between us, and we should both accept that and move on.”
Officials on the continent also expressed their outrage amid reports the UK could put forward new legislation which could override elements of the withdrawal agreement.
According to the Financial Times, some officials have stated the new Internal Market Bill may infringe on elements agreed on Northern Ireland.
The Internal Market Bill will be tabled on Wednesday in the attempt of maintaining free trade between the devolved nations.
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Under this, the bill may eliminate certain legal elements of the withdrawal agreement in relation to Northern Ireland customs.
EU officials, however, have claimed the legislation cannot alter the withdrawal agreement which has already been agreed by both parties.
Mr Barnier said: “I remain worried the negotiations are difficult, because the British want the best of both worlds.
“Everything that has been signed must be respected.”
Mr Barnier will hold talks with his counterpart, David Frost this week.
It had been hoped the two sides could agree a deal by October for it to then be ratified by the EU Parliament.
Mr Barnier, however, has claimed the UK has not changed its stance on state aid or fisheries, thus stopping any chance of progression during Brexit talks.
Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg.
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