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Brexit POLL: Should UK call EU’s bluff over no deal Brexit? VOTE HERE

EUROPEAN Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said the EU would be “fine” to trade with the UK on World Trade Organisation terms at the conclusion of the Brexit transition period. Many see the move as Brussels throwing down the gauntlet to Britain – but should Boris Johnson call the EU’s bluff and plan to leave the bloc without a negotiated trade deal in place?

In a barely-disguised attack on the UK Government Ms von der Leyen warned against pursuing an “Australia-style” trade deal with the EU. But Boris Johnson is keen to push such a deal, as it avoid’s the EU’s so-called “level-playing field” demand – which requires the UK to govern under EU rules and standards. But the European Commission President says the idea is a non-starter and pointed out that the EU currently trades with Australia under WTO terms.

As a result, Ms von der Leyen said it would up to Britain to choose if they wanted to go down a no deal route.

Speaking to MEPs at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Ms von der Leyen said she was “surprised” by Mr Johnson’s push for an “Australian-style deal”.

She said: “Australia, without any doubt is a strong ever like minded partner, but the European Union does not have a trade agreement with Australia.

“We are currently trading on WTO terms. And if this is the British choice. Well, we are fine with that without any question.

“In fact, we just are in the moment where we agreeing with Australia that we must end this situation, and we were going to try to deal with them.

“Of course the UK can decide to settle for less but I personally believe that we should be way more ambitious.”

But what do YOU think?

Should the UK should call the EU’s bluff over a no deal and push to trade with the bloc on WTO terms – or even bring them back to the negotiating table with Britain having a stronger hand?

Brussels appears to have ramped up their negotiating demands this week, before the UK enters trade talks with the bloc next month.

The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier said yesterday: “We are not prepared to conclude a deal at any price. We will defend the interests of the EU.”

Brussels is also making tougher fishing quota demands in a bid to keep the status quo after the transition period ends.

Mr Barnier has been ordered to “uphold” the existing rules, which allow reciprocal access for European vessels into British fishing waters.

But despite the apparent warning Ms von der Leyen’s tone seems more conciliatory and she has urged the Prime Minister to seek a comprehensive trade deal with the EU.

And although Nathalie Loiseau, France’s most senior MEP and a close ally of President Emmanuel Macron, insisted Paris would make the same demands throughout the trade talks she has also said: “Brexit is not intended to break the links that bind economies, people, and history.”

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