EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier says the door is open for the UK to return to the negotiating table
The EU’s Chief Negotiator says that the door is still open for the United Kingdom to return to the negotiating table.
On Friday, British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson accused the European Union of not taking the talks seriously and on Friday night Downing Street announced that the talks were over but then on Sunday, Michael Gove said that the door is “still ajar” for talks with the EU over a post-Brexit trade deal but only if it concedes ground in key areas which has been regarded as fisheries and ‘the level playing field’.
Talks were called off on Friday by the UK Government after the 27 remaining EU Member State leaders met in Brussels on Thursday where they recommitted to the mandate agreed upon at the beginning of the Brexit negotiations.
Officials on the UK side were hoping to see some softening on the EU’s stance on fisheries and business subsidies but the EU leaders reconfirmed that Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier’s is to continue with the mandate he was given.
In an official press release on Friday, Johnson accused the EU of resisting the UK’s preferred outcome of a deal based on the one the bloc has with Canada.
Later, Number 10 said the two sides had agreed to talk again next week, by phone, but this idea was dismissed by the UK’s chief negotiator Lord Frost who also claimed the EU negotiators were not taking it seriously.
UK chief negotiator Lord Frost said he had told EU counterpart Michel Barnier there was now no “basis” for planned talks on Monday.
Senior EU sources had indicated on Friday that Mr Barnier would be attending the meeting in London today in person, and the confusion about who would be where and what was happening didn’t end there.
Downing Street said on Friday that official negotiations over a future economic partnership were “over” and the UK should “get ready” to trade with the EU from 01 January without a specific agreement.
On Sunday morning, Michael Gove told Andrew Marr on his BBC show that the EU “effectively ended the current round of talks” when its 27 leaders met in Brussels on Thursday to take stock of progress and said more was required from the UK.
“It was the case we were making progress but then the EU retreated from that,” he said.
“We have drawn the conclusion that unless their approach changes, they are not interested and they have in effect drawn stumps.”
Asked by Andrew Marr whether the UK was engaging in sabre-rattling or the door was still ajar to further discussions, Mr Gove replied: “It is still ajar. We hope the EU will change their position and we are certainly not saying if they do change their position we can’t talk to them.”
In response to today’s cancelled meeting, earlier this afternoon, the EU Chief Negotiator 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.”