15.10.2020 | EU call Boris Johnson's bluff by daring UK to walk away from talks – Brussels summit leak
Source - The Daily Express
The bloc has pulled plans for plans to intensify the talks after the Prime Minister complained recent rounds had “lacked energy”. Ahead of a crunch summit of European leaders in Brussels, a leaked document revealed Michel Barnier will be ordered to resist making progress until Britain makes significant concessions on fisheries and future state subsidies policy. The “draft conclusions” say: “The European Council recalls that the transition period will end on December 31, 2020, and notes with concern that progress on key issues of interest to the Union is still not sufficient for an agreement to be reached.
“Against this background, the European Council invites the chief negotiator to continue negotiations in the coming weeks, and calls on the UK to make the necessary moves to make an agreement possible.”
A previous version of the document had called on Mr Barnier to “intensify negotiations” to ensure a Brexit trade deal is wrapped up before the end of the year.
The Brexit trade talks will be discussed by EU leaders for the first time in over 12 months at the European Council summit in Brussels today.
The conclusions published ahead of the gathering are subject to change depending on how heads of state and government finally evaluate the future relationship negotiations with Britain.
Mr Johnson is ready to walk away from Brexit talks unless today’s discussion send a clear signal a deal is still doable in the coming weeks.
The Prime Minister wants a “strong and credible” sign a breakthrough can be made after the bloc sets out its positions.
He held talks with EU presidents Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel last night ahead of the summit.
A Downing Street spokesman said: “The leaders discussed the latest state of play of the negotiations on our future relationship with the EU, ahead of the October European Council.
“The Prime Minister noted the desirability of a deal, but expressed his disappointment that more progress had not been made over the past two weeks.
“The Prime Minister said that he looked forward to hearing the outcome of the European Council and would reflect before setting out the UK’s next steps.”
Mrs von der Leyen insisted the bloc would continue to work on a deal, stressing the importance of an agreement on fisheries, the so-called level playing field and governance.
She said: “The EU is working on a deal, but not at any price.”
And Mr Michel added: “On the eve of the European Council we pressed again for progress to be made at the negotiation table.”