UK’s Raab: Disappointed and surprised by the EU’s position on Brexit

Marco Green
October 16, 2020

A post-Brexit trade deal can be done but European leaders need to show more flexibility, foreign secretary Dominic Raab has said.

"It is very important to us in Ireland that our coastal communities are protected in an overall deal on Brexit through a sensible and fair fisheries deal", he said.

In a harsh rebuke of the European Union, he added: "And 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".

If both sides follow the same rules, they can trade without any barriers. "Also surprised by suggestion that to get an agreement all future moves must come from UK".

"If conditions aren't met, it's possible we won't have an agreement", French President Emmanuel Macron said as he arrived at the summit in Brussels.

"And we will prosper mightily as an independent free trading nation, controlling our own borders, our fisheries, and setting our own laws", he said.

Michel Barnier let things slip on Thursday when he said he'd be in London for intensified talks next week, while Ursula von der Leyen has said the negotiations would take place "as planned".

European officials brushed off Frost's complaints and insisted they won't persuade the bloc to shift its stance, and several voiced irritation, asking not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the negotiations.

Traders were keeping tabs also on developments in Washington as lawmakers struggle to find agreement on a new stimulus for the beleaguered USA economy, with a disappointing jobs report highlighting the need for action.

The invite comes after a warning by Prime Minister Boris Johnson that he could walk away from the negotiations unless the results of the summit pointed to a breakthrough. "It's an unusual approach to conducting a negotiation", Frost added.

Barnier said the talks could go on until the end of October, the rough date set by the European Union side in order to leave enough parliamentary time to ratify the deal before the Brexit transition expires on December 31.

"We know that we will have to make an effort".

All sides have acknowledged that the question of future fishing rights once the current Brexit transition period ends at the end of the year remains among the most hard issues to be resolved.

President Emmanuel Macron of France hinted at possible compromise on the thorny issue of fishing rights, saying he was open to finding a "good compromise" that would ensure access for French fishermen to United Kingdom waters.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said: "Britain has already imposed so many deadlines that came and went".

"On no account will our fishermen be sacrificed for Brexit". "If the right terms can't be found at the end of these discussions, we're ready for a no-deal for our future relations".

The EU never recognised his deadline and in their conclusions put the onus on Johnson to rescue a deal as time runs out.

Meanwhile, Mrs von der Leyen announced that she had to pull out of the summit to self-isolate after a member of her staff tested positive for coronavirus, even though the German politician tested negative.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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