Home » Politics » Brexit LIVE: Michel Barnier set for Brexit showdown in ONE HOUR – will make or break talks
Brexit LIVE: Michel Barnier set for Brexit showdown in ONE HOUR – will make or break talks
October 20, 2020
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Boris Johnson earlier warned there was little point continuing talks as the EU refused to back down over its demands for future fishing arrangements and state aid. Now the Prime Minister’s spokesperson has said the “door is ajar” but the bloc must be willing to change its approach. The spokesperson said: “We have said that our door is ajar to resume talks, but that can only happen if the EU fundamentally change their approach and also if they make it clear that they have done so.”
The EU said both the EU and UK will need to compromise to reach aBrexit deal ahead of the meeting this afternoon.
A European Commission spokesman told a Brussels briefing: “I think it is pretty obvious that in order to come to an agreement both sides need to meet and this is also obviously the case in this negotiation.”
It comes as Mr Barnier vowed to “intensify” talks after in another change of heart as Mr Gove warned further talks would be “meaningless” without the EU backing down over its demands.
He said: “The conclusions of that council reaffirmed the EU’s original negotiating mandate, they dropped a reference to intensive talks that has been in the draft and they declared that all, all future moves in this negotiation had to be made by the UK.”
Lord Frost added: “But the EU still needs to make a fundamental change in approach to the talks and make clear it has done so.”
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1.36pm update: Boris Johnson’s Europe adviser to speak to Barnier again next week
David Frost will speak to the European Union’s Michel Barnier again on Tuesday as efforts continue to revive trade talks.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “What the UK’s chief negotiator needs to see is a clear assurance from the EU that it has made a fundamental change in approach to the talks and that this is going to be a genuine negotiation rather than one side being expected to make all of the moves.”
1.15pm update: Juncker breaks cover to CONDEMN Von Der Leyen for Brussels blunders
The former European Commission President, who served from 2014 to 2019, said he was “appalled” by cuts to the budget for defence, research and health made by EU chiefs.
He also pinned the blame on the “harmful influence” of the frugal four – Denmark, Sweden, Austria and the Netherlands.
In a strongly worded rant, Mr Juncker said he was “dismayed” by the “lack of ambition”, adding: “This is not Europe”.
The former EU boss also hit out at the European Council’s decision to reduce the proposed sum for the Erasmus programme, adding “also cut the budget for defence, research and health”.
12.43pm update: Barnier accused of ‘paying lip service’ to UK sovereignty in EU trade talks
EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier has said that the EU remains “available to intensify talks in London on all subjects”.
This comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the UK should start preparing for a no deal Brexit.
Business Minister Nadhim Zahawi reiterated the Government’s point to Sky News that there was “no point” in continuing negotiations without a move on the EU’s part.
He said: “As long as they agree to negotiate with us as a sovereign in the way the EU has treated Norway on fishing, then we’re happy to intensify.
“But until they make it very clear that they are willing to negotiate with us as an equal, as a sovereign, then there’s no point simply just paying lip service.
“There’s no point saying they’ll intensify negotiations when the reality is that they don’t accept the principle that the UK has left the EU and we are now sovereign.
“We’ve just done a deal with Japan, much deeper and better than the EU had with Japan, and we’ll do many more.”
12.03pm update: Widdecombe blasts Boris Johnson for not walking away – Thatcher would say ‘we’re leaving’
Margaret Thatcher would never have put up with the treatment meted out to the UK by the EU over the last year – and would have pulled the plug on the Brexit withdrawal agreement long ago, former Tory minister Ann Widdecombe has said.
Miss Widdecombe, who served as a Brexit Party MEP alongside Nigel Farage after being elected to the European Parliament last year, fears current PM Boris Johnson’s refusal to walk away from negotiations once and for all will see the UK saddled with what she calls a “lousy deal”.
However, she said it would not have been the case had Mrs Thatcher, who led the UK from 1979 to 1990, still been in charge.
Miss Widdecombe, who served as minister of state for Employment and also minister of state for Prisons under Mrs Thatcher’s successor, John Major, said: “I think that when the first deadline expired for a proper deal she would have said that’s it.
11.43am update: Robert Peston highlights ‘real deal deadline’ as Brexit talks resume ‘Victory for Boris’
The ITV’s political editor insisted EU negotiators were already due to travel to London on Tuesday before Michel Barnier said Brussels was prepared to continue talks across all subjects in a call with Lord Frost on Monday afternoon.
Robert Peston branded Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove’s claim that the breakthrough was due to Boris Johnson’s new tough stance with the bloc as “classic Govian spin”.
The political journalist added that November 15 is the “real deadline” for a free trade agreement, as it would still be possible to ratify a deal before that date.
10.56am update: UK and EU Brexit negotiators to meet again today
AFP Brussels reporter Clement Zampa tweeted: “New exchange scheduled this afternoon between @MichelBarnier and @DavidGHFrost to unblock post-discussions #Brexit , after the helping hand of the EU yesterday … and the British “no thank you”.
10.30am update: Brexit bombshell: EU waiting for key vote to push ‘weakened’ UK into convenient trade deal
Brexit talks with the European Union have been declared “over” after the UK lamented Brussels’ inability to make concessions on key issues affecting the future trading relationship between the two sides.
Former Brexit Party MEP Lance Forman suggested failure to move from the EU could be part of a “wait and see” strategy that will conclude following the US Presidential Election in November.
Speaking to talkRADIO, Mr Forman said: “I suspect, and I don’t think this has been mentioned terribly much, but I just wonder whether the EU is holding off to see what happens with the American elections.
“If Biden were to win, I don’t think he will, but if he were to win maybe they think our position will be weakened in some way.”
10.05am update: ‘We can’t talk to ourselves’
Philippe Lamberts, the European deputy of Ecolo, the French-speaking Belgian ecological political party, has given an update on the latest talks.
Christoph Schmidt tweeted: “@ph_lamberts on stalled #brexit talks: ‘What can I say, if they don’t want to talk?
“We can’t talk to ourselves, can we?”
9.22am update: Brexit Britain’s fishing DEFENCE! UK to use technology to track vessels in fishing waters
The Government has opened a call for evidence on expanding the use of Remote Electronic Monitoring on fishing boats in English waters.
The monitoring technology is aimed at improving the management of fisheries, providing better data on fish stocks and stopping overfishing.
The move comes as the UK will be free from the European Union’s Common Fisheries Policy – which British fishermen say has decimated their livelihoods – when the transition period comes to a close at the end of the year.
It is part of plans to use the latest technology to support the fishing industry.
Fisheries Minister Victoria Prentis said: “As we take back control of our fisheries, we want to ensure a sustainable and thriving fishing industry.
“Remote Electronic Monitoring technology could provide important information on the state of our fish stocks and help shape how we manage our fisheries in the future.
“We, therefore, want to hear from those who will be affected by its use and give them a say in how we manage our fisheries as an independent coastal state.”
8.24am update: EU backs down over legal drafts
Michel Barnier said the EU is “available to intensify talks” in an olive branch to the UK.
He tweeted: “As stated by President @vonderleyen on Friday, I confirmed that the EU remains available to intensify talks in London this week, on all subjects, and based on legal texts. We now wait for the UK’s reaction.”
Former civil servant Anton Spisak said this paved the way to “finding compromises”.
He tweeted: “This is the moment No10 has been awaiting for months: the Commission says yes to the joint legal text drafting.
“Unless there’s now a miscalculation on either side, this paves the way to finding compromises.”
8.11am update: Boris turns down offer to resume trade talks
Number 10 acknowledged that there had been a “constructive discussion” between Mr Barnier and his UK counterpart David Frost.
However, the spokesman added there was still no basis to resume negotiations.
They said: “This means an EU approach consistent with trying to find an agreement between sovereign equals and with acceptance that movement needs to come from the EU side as well as the UK.”