European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen wants a more ambitious Brexit trade deal | Frederick Florin/AFP via Getty Images
Von der Leyen: EU wants more ambitious Brexit trade deal than ‘Australia model’
‘The United Kingdom can settle for less, but I personally believe that we should be way more ambitious,’ Commission president says.
Updated 2/11/20, 12:21 PM CET
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is “a little bit surprised” that Boris Johnson cited the “Australia model” as a potential blueprint of a post-Brexit trade relationship between the U.K. and the EU.
“Australia without any doubt is a strong and a like-minded partner, but the European Union does not have a trade agreement with Australia. We are currently trading on WTO [World Trade Organization] terms,” she said during a speech in the European Parliament on Tuesday.
“We will enter these negotiations with the highest ambitions because good old friends like the U.K. and us should not settle for less than this.”
She added: “If this is the British choice, well, we are fine with that, without any question. But in fact we are at the moment agreeing with Australia that we must end this situation … Of course the United Kingdom can settle for less, but I personally believe that we should be way more ambitious.”
Von der Leyen said that the EU is prepared to make generous offers on trade, but an ambitious free-trade deal “would require corresponding guarantees on fair competition and the protection of social,