Brexit: Michel Barnier told to stay home after Boris Johnson says EU ‘abandoned free trade deal’
The UK’s chief Brexit negotiator has told his European counterpart not to come to London on Monday to resolve stalled talks, after the prime minister warned it was time to “get ready” to leave without a deal.
David Frost spoke to Michel Barnier after Boris Johnson claimed Brussels had “abandoned” the ambition of a free trade deal but insisted “we always knew there would be changes” next year once the Brexit transition period ends.
“There was accordingly no basis for negotiations in London as of Monday,” a spokesperson for the prime minister said.
However, they added that Lord Frost agreed to talk with Mr Barnier at some point early next week instead.
Speaking from Downing Street after an EU summit which both sides said was the deadline for hammering out a deal, Mr Johnson said it looked like the country was heading for what he called “the Australian solution”.
Ursula von der Leyen, president of the EU Commission, said she would continue to work for a deal – “but not at any price”.
“As planned, our negotiation team will go to London next week to intensify these negotiations,” she added.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel also echoed a similar sentiment, saying: “As far as the EU is concerned, and as far as I am concerned, we should continue to negotiate.”
And Charles Michel, head of the EU Council, said fisheries remains a “very important topic” in talks and insisted the UK should implement the divorce deal “in total”, after Mr Johnson threatened to override it.