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Brexit: Trade talks with the EU are over, says No 10

October 17, 2020 7:56 am
Boris Johnson

Talks between the UK and EU over a post-Brexit trade agreement are “over”, Downing Street has said.

No 10 argued there was “no point” in discussions continuing next week unless the EU was prepared to discuss the detailed legal text of a partnership.

UK chief negotiator Lord Frost said he had told EU counterpart Michel Barnier there was now no “basis” for planned talks on Monday.

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Number 10 said the two sides had agreed to talk again next week – by phone.

Earlier, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted that the Brussels negotiating team would go to London after the weekend to “intensify” discussions.

The prime minister had set this week’s EU summit as the deadline for the two sides to agree a deal.

But there are still major disagreements over fishing rights and state help for businesses.

And the UK government hardened up its message to the EU over the course of Friday.

In the morning, Boris Johnson said the country had to “get ready” to trade next year without an agreement, although he did not say the talks were over.

He suggested the EU was unwilling to consider seriously the UK’s preferred option of a comprehensive free trade agreement based on the bloc’s existing arrangement with Canada.

The UK, he added, must look at the “alternative” – which he suggested was Australia’s much-more limited set of agreements with the EU.

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