Thursday, 22 Oct 2020

Brexit poll: After Boris’s ultimatum, will EU finally cave and accept UK demands? VOTE

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Express.co.uk readers can vote in our poll on whether the EU will offer Britain the Canada-style agreement it is asking for. And tell us more about what you think by scrolling down and leaving a comment.

Our poll comes after the Prime Minister told the UK to get ready for no deal in a broadcast statement on Friday.

Mr Johnson accused the EU of making “unacceptable” demands and insisted a “fundamental change of approach” was needed by Brussels if there was to be any agreement.

He said: “From the outset, we were totally clear that we wanted nothing more complicated than a Canada-style relationship, based on friendship and free trade.

“To judge by the latest EU summit in Brussels, that won’t work for our EU partners.

“They want the continued ability to control our legislative freedom, our fisheries, in a way that is obviously unacceptable to an independent country.

“Given that they have refused to negotiate seriously for much of the last few months, and given that this summit appears explicitly to rule out a Canada-style deal, I have concluded that we should get ready for January 1 with arrangements that are more like Australia’s based on simple principles of global free trade.”

Mr Johnson had previously said if there was no deal by the two-day EU summit, which started on Thursday, he would walk away from the negotiating table.

Following the Prime Minister’s statement, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier would travel to London on Monday to continue trade talks.

But Downing Street hit back and said there was “no basis for negotiations”.

And the UK’s chief negotiator Lord Frost told his counterpart Mr Barnier not to come.

A Number 10 spokesman said: “Lord Frost has spoken to Michel Barnier to update the EU on the Prime Minister’s statement.

“Lord Frost said that, as the Prime Minister had made clear, the European Council’s conclusions yesterday had left us without a basis to continue the trade talks without a fundamental change in the EU’s approach to these negotiations.

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“There was accordingly no basis for negotiations in London as of Monday.

“He and Michel Barnier agreed to talk again early next week.”

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman added that there was “no point” in Mr Barnier travelling to London next week if he was refusing to change his stance.

The spokesman said: “There is only any point in Michel Barnier coming to London next week if he is prepared to discuss all of the issues on the basis of legal texts in an accelerated way, without the UK being required to make all of the moves.

“Or he is willing to discuss the practicalities of areas such as travel and haulage, which the Prime Minister mentioned in his statement.

“If not, there is no point in coming.”

The UK left the EU on January 31 and is in a transition period until the end of the year.

An Australia-style arrangement between Britain and Brussels would see trade carried out on World Trade Organisation terms.

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