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Now or never! Boris to tell Brussels he won't return next year for fresh Brexit talks


They will warn the bloc’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier must compromise on his “one-sided” approach by the autumn or risk negotiations collapsing altogether. Boris Johnson has sanctioned a walk out in September in order to fast-track preparations to do business with the EU on world trade terms. But Downing Street officials have advised the Prime Minister there will be “very little scope” for picking up negotiations with the bloc again in the future.

No 10 has decided it would be futile to attempt to resume talks after the transition period expires at the end of the year because Mr Barnier would still struggle to find the bandwidth to convince EU leaders to drop their “eye-watering” demands.

A senior Government source said: “It is the UK that is driving any progress being made in this negotiation. The Commission are either not ready or not willing to inject momentum.

“They need to put some political reality into its approach, and appreciate that they cannot use their usual tactic of delay to drag the talks into the autumn.

“By then it will be too late, as businesses need to know what to prepare for with as much time as is practicable.”

David Frost, the Prime Minister’s chief Brexit negotiator, has become frustrated with the bloc’s continued demands over fisheries and a regulatory level-playing field.

A source close to the negotiations accused Brussels of rowing back on the commitments it made in the Political Declaration.

The official said: “They clearly need to reconsider their position to avoid backsliding on the agreement made last autumn, and stop making demands incompatible with our future status as an independent coastal state.”

The intervention comes after Mr Barnier claimed the UK has more to lose than the EU from a no-deal Brexit.

“We are less exposed because seven percent of our exports go to the UK,” he told the Sunday Times.

“Whereas for the UK, it’s 47 percent of their exports which come to the EU.

“So I think that it is in the interests of both sides to find an agreement, particularly now.”

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The Frenchman hit out at Mr Frost’s “tone”, adding: “I would prefer to use the time in real negotiations rather than in exchanges of letters.”

There is little hope on either side that they will be able to broker a compromise ahead of a high-level summit later this summer between Mr Johnson and EU leaders.

British negotiators want to resume face-to-face talks as soon as possible because virtual talks have no run their course.


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