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Boris wins major breakthrough after Barnier convinces EU to surrender on ECJ red line


Michel Barnier has persuaded European Union member-states to surrender on one of Brussels’ major red lines in the Brexit trade talks. In a shock breakthrough, sources in Brussels told RTE’s Tony Connelly that EU member-states are “preparing themselves” for a compromise on ECJ. This would mark a significant victory for the UK and Prime Minister Boris Johnson who has refused to back down on Britain’s own red lines over fisheries and state aid.

A source familiar with the negotiations told Connelly this week: “Mentally the member states are ready for a compromise on the ECJ.”

Speaking on RTE’s Brexit Republic podcast, Connelly said: “Barnier has said publicly and privately that he understands the UK’s red lines.

“Boris Johnson spelled them out in the high-level conference: no role for the ECJ in the UK and things have to feel and look different in the realm of fisheries.

“You can’t just replicate the Common Fisheries Policy and the status quo, and Barnier has said he understands that.”

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He added: “That is the first time Barnier has said that he sees and understands the red lines of the UK.

“If you speak to officials here in Brussels, he has said this privately to member-states, and the impression here is that this is dawning on Brussels.

“Member-states are mentally preparing themselves for a compromise on the ECJ. They know it is not going to fly politically for Boris Johnson to have the overt role of the ECJ in the UK in this future relationship.

“So, the EU accepts it would be impossible politically for the UK to sign up to the oversight or tyranny of the ECJ somehow involved in UK law and subjecting the UK to its remit.”

The British government said “significant differences still remain” after the latest round of discussions between Mr Barnier and Britain’s David Frost.

Mr Johnson made a surprise appearance before an informal dinner between Mr Barnier and Mr Frost on Tuesday to stress his desire to reach an agreement in the coming weeks.

Mr Frost is due to travel to Brussels for further discussions next week before formal negotiations resume in London.

The Prime Minister has insisted he will not allow trade talks to drag on into the autumn.


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