Boris tells Macron that a Brexit deal is ‘better for both sides’ but he’s prepared to end transition period on Australia-style terms if an agreement can’t be done
- Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed UK’s commitment to reach agreement
- Johnson emphasised that progress must be made to bridge the significant gaps
- It comes ahead of a highly-anticipated European Council summit on October 15
Brexit has been at the centre of telephone talks between Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron.
The two leaders spoke about the issue on Saturday morning, Downing Street said.
A Number 10 spokesperson said: ‘The Prime Minister… set out the latest state of play in the negotiations on the future relationship between the UK and the EU.
‘He confirmed the UK’s commitment to exploring every avenue to reach an agreement.
‘He underlined that a deal was better for both sides, but also that the UK was prepared to end the transition period on Australia-style terms if an agreement could not be found.
Brexit has been at the centre of telephone talks between Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron ahead of highly-anticipated European Council this week
‘The Prime Minister emphasised that progress must be made in the coming days to bridge the significant gaps – notably in the areas of fisheries and the level playing field – through the process of intensive talks between chief negotiators agreed with the president of the European Commission.
‘The leaders agreed to keep in touch on the issue.’
The two leaders also discussed the coronavirus crisis.
Britain and the EU will keep discussions open and formulate a ‘mini-deals’ even if an overarching plan for the UK post-Brexit can’t be agreed upon, it has been reported.
EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and his UK counterpart Lord David Frost will come up with ‘mini-deals’ on key areas – including road transport and aviation – if no-deal Brexit starts looking likely.
It comes ahead of a highly-anticipated European Council summit on October 15, with Boris Johnson having said he wants the outline of a trade agreement to be in place before it starts – and threatened to walk away if it is not.
Mr Barnier responded to the PM’s ultimatum with an equally definitive stance, warning EU leaders to stand firm over a Brexit trade deal and seek further UK concessions.
He told EU ambassadors that he does not want the summit to discuss any possible compromise over areas like fishing to avoid an angry outburst by the temperamental French President Emmanuel Macron.
EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier (left) and his UK counterpart Lord David Frost (right) will come up with ‘mini-deals’ on key areas if no-deal Brexit starts looking likely
But, in a sign that relations could be softening between the two sides, a senior EU diplomat told The Times that ‘member states are becoming a bit nervous’ and ‘contingency planning’ has begun to cushion the worst effects of no-deal.
If there is no deal agreed by the PM’s deadline, the diplomat believes ‘negotiations will continue’. The end of October will act as the real finishing line.
Should Brexit happen without a ‘mini-deal’ in place for transport – for example – legal restrictions could be slapped onto on lorries bringing items from the UK into Europe.
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