The EU captains may have to deal with a no-deal Brexit after daring Boris Johnson to follow through with his threat to walk away from the trade negotiation as they plot to intensify the negotiation following the PM’s complain that talks are making no headway.
According to a leaked draft ahead of the European leaders’ summit in Brussels today, it’s expected that they’ll order the EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier to resist making progress until the UK makes significant concessions on fisheries and future state subsidies policy.
The draft says in part, “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.”
The EU leaders will be discussing the Brexit trade deal at the summit today for the first time in more than 12 months, all publication made ahead of the summit are subject to change depending on the outcome of the meeting.
Mr Johnson maintains he would walk away from Brexit talks if today’s summit fails to pass a clear message a deal is still possible after he held a meeting over the phone with EU presidents Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel last night.
“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,” a Downing Street spokesperson said.
Mrs von der Leyen insisted the EU would continue to work on a deal, pointing out the importance of an understanding on fisheries, and the level-playing field and governance, “The EU is working on a deal, but not at any price,” she said.
While Mr Michel said, “On the eve of the European Council we pressed again for progress to be made at the negotiation table.”