Boris: Agreement on a free trade deal by next Thursday or we walk away


The UK and EU negotiators are to resume talks next week with Boris Johnson saying he wants agreement on a free trade deal by the time of the EU summit in the Belgian capital on Thursday.

Downing Street said there had been “useful discussions” during the course of informal talks this week but that there were still differences over some “important issues”.

Earlier today, the lead negotiators Michel Barnier and Lord Frost met again for face-to-face discussions in London.

The Prime Minister has indicated he will walk away from the negotiating table if there is not a deal by the time of next week’s EU summit in the Belgian capital on Thursday arguing that otherwise it would be too late to implement before the end of the Brexit transition period at the end of the year.

Both sides have, however, acknowledged there are still obstacles to be overcome – including on the key issues of fisheries and state aid.

A No 10 spokesman confirmed that informal discussions would resume in Brussels next week.

“We have had useful discussions this week,” the spokesman said.

“Progress has been made in some areas, however there still remains differences on some important issues but we remain committed to trying to agree a FTA (free trade agreement).

“We continue to want an agreement, we continue to want an FTA but it is important that we can agree on some issues.”

The latest talks come after Mr Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen agreed at the weekend to intensify negotiations in a final push for an agreement.

Speaking in Dublin on Thursday, the European Council president Charles Michel said they had reached a critical stage.

“The coming days are crucial, this is the moment of truth,” he said.

However, leading think tank business chiefs think Boris Johnson has “outwitted” and “outmanoeuvred” the European Union in post-Brexit trade talks.

Director of the Bruges Group Robert Oulds insisted the Prime Minister has “defeated” the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier in a move that will pave the way for a “fair and reasonable” deal.

The Brexiteer said: “Boris Johnson has outwitted and outmanoeuvred the EU.

“He’s realised their weakness and Britain’s strength. He has defeated Michel Barnier in the negotiations.

“It seems like it’s going to be game, set and match to Britain.”


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