EU chief told 'no point' in visiting UK for new Brexit talks

Cornelia Mascio
Ottobre 17, 2020

But Lord Frost, the UK's chief negotiator, spoke with his counterpart Michel Barnier to tell him not to make the trip across the Channel next week.

In a text adopted by the summit, they "invited" Mr Barnier to continue his negotiations while urging member states to step up "preparedness and readiness" for all outcomes "including that of no agreement".

The prime minister is due to make a statement on the future path of Brexit negotiations later today, according to the UK's chief Brexit negotiator Lord David Frost.

In a statement to broadcasters, the Prime Minister accused European Union leaders of seeking to impose a series of "unacceptable" demands and called for a "fundamental change of approach" if there was to be any agreement.

Meanwhile, Downing Street has confirmed that the UK's chief negotiator Lord Frost has returned to London and briefed Mr Johnson on the latest talks which took place this week in Brussels.

He said that Johnson, who has threatened to quit the negotiations at the end of this week if a deal can't be struck, would respond on Friday (Oct 16).

The "Australia solution" means the United Kingdom will not have any special agreement with the European Union, but rather would do business according to the World Trade Organization (WTO) rules starting from January, when the Brexit transition period ends.

The Prime Minister went on to make similar comments at a Number 10 press conference when asked to explain his stance.

"Given that they have refused to negotiate seriously for much of the last few months, and given that this summit appears explicitly to rule out a Canada-style deal, I have concluded that we should get ready for January 1 with arrangements that are more like Australia's based on simple principles of global free trade".

"That was pretty clear from the conclusions of the summit". They want the continued ability to control our legislative freedom, our fisheries, in a way that is obviously unacceptable to an independent country. "It can either fundamentally change position or we will leave on Australian terms, under which we will prosper", Johnson's spokesman said.

The Australia-style deal espoused by Mr Johnson would see tariffs slapped on many British goods and some quota restrictions introduced with its largest trading partner.

However, industry reacted with alarm, warning of the damage to an economy already stricken by coronavirus if there was no deal by the end of the year.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday both sides should compromise to break open the stalled talks.

"Neither side can afford to fall at the final fence". It is the second time she has had to quarantine.

It comes as EU leaders continue discussions at the European Council summit.

In the run up to the summit, both sides had acknowledged significant differences remained over the issues of future fishing rights and state aid rules.

The 27 bloc leaders arrived for a summit in Brussels expressing cautious optimism but, in their written conclusions, urged the European Union and its member states to step up preparations for a chaotic "no-deal" exit.

"There are all the major cheerleaders being proved categorically and irrefutably wrong", said James, "and of course some of us were screaming from the rooftops that they were lying to you at the time and I have nothing but sympathy for you if you're still unable or unwilling to believe it".

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