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Brexit LIVE: Boris Johnson orders Emmanuel Macron to 'respect our sovereignty'

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The aggressive response from Downing Street came after France accused the UK Government of deliberately stalling ongoing Brexit trade deal negotiations, which Britain and the EU remain deadlocked on just four months until the transition period ends. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said trade talks were not advancing because of the “intransigent and unrealistic attitude of the United Kingdom”, and told the country’s ambassadors the EU27 would not buckle under pressure from Britain. He said: “On Brexit we always showed unity and proved wrong those who saw signs of an overall implosion of Europe.

“It is in staying united that we can stick to our line of a global accord.”

But Downing Street furiously hit back, accusing the EU of making it “unnecessarily difficult to make progress”.

A spokeswoman said: “We have been clear from the outset about the principles underlying the UK approach: we are seeking a relationship that respects our sovereignty and which has a free trade agreement at its core, similar to those the EU has already agreed with like-minded countries.

“However, the EU is still insisting not only that we must accept continuity with EU state aid and fisheries policy, but also that this must be agreed before any further substantive work can be done in any other area of the negotiation, including on legal texts, making it unnecessarily difficult to make progress.

“We will continue to work hard to reach agreement and look forward to the next round taking place next week.”

The latest outburst comes as Michel Barnier refuses to open discussions on Britain’s new fisheries proposals until the UK budges on other issues.

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, who is meeting UK counterpart David Frost in London today (Tuesday), is insisting on “parallelism” – where multiple aspects on a range of issues must be agreed before moving forward.

Mr Frost is expected to vent his frustration at the refusal from the EU to discuss proposals on how to manage fish stocks.

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7.45am update: UK accuses EU of DELIBERATELY blocking deal – Barnier heads to London

The UK has accused the EU of making it “unnecessarily difficult to make progress” in trade deal negotiations after France blamed the deadlock on the “intransigent and unrealistic attitude of the United Kingdom”.

French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told the country’s ambassadors the EU would not buckle to accept Boris Johnson’s demand for a free trade deal without guarantees of European fishing rights and commitments to obey a host of Brussels regulations.

He said: “On Brexit we always showed unity and proved wrong those who saw signs of an overall implosion of Europe. It is in staying united that we can stick to our line of a global accord.”

But a Downing Street spokeswoman hit back: “We have been clear from the outset about the principles underlying the UK approach: we are seeking a relationship that respects our sovereignty and which has a free trade agreement at its core, similar to those the EU has already agreed with like-minded countries.

“However, the EU is still insisting not only that we must accept continuity with EU state aid and fisheries policy, but also that this must be agreed before any further substantive work can be done in any other area of the negotiation, including on legal texts, making it unnecessarily difficult to make progress.

“We will continue to work hard to reach agreement and look forward to the next round taking place next week.”



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