EU trade talks are over and Britain must now prepare for a No Deal Brexit, Boris Johnson declared today.
The PM laid into the EU for refusing to take them seriously — and their chief negotiator Michel Barnier was told not to bother coming to London next week for more planned discussions.
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But Mr Johnson left his door slightly ajar by saying he would come back to the negotiating table if there was a “fundamental change in approach” from Brussels.
It stunned EU leaders at their disastrous summit in Brussels and they desperately scrambled to try to repair the damage by offering concessions to the UK.
Even hardline French President Emmanuel Macron signalled a willingness to climb down from his demands that fishermen keep the same access to UK waters.
German leader Angela Merkel said the bloc was “ready to compromise” across the board, including on its insistence the two sides sign up to common standards.
EU council president Charles Michel said: “We are ready to continue the negotiations.”
And Brussels boss Ursula von der Leyen said Mr Barnier, would still travel to London next week to “intensify” talks.
But tonight Britain’s chief negotiator Lord Frost told him not to bother as there was “no basis for negotiations”.
The pair will continue speaking over the phone instead.
The PM’s spokesman declared today: “The trade talks are over. The EU has effectively ended them by saying that they do not want to change their negotiating position.
“The EU can either fundamentally change their position or we can leave on Australia’s terms.
“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.”
Mr Johnson had set today as a deadline for concluding trade talks with the EU.
He blamed the failure of reaching a deal on the EU’s refusal to take talks seriously and their refusal to offer Britain a Canadian-style free trade agreement.
He lashed out at Brussels for trying to keep control of British laws, freedoms and fisheries in a way that was “completely unacceptable to an independent country”.
£12m blow on duty free
BRITS face paying an extra £12million on airport shopping a year under changes to duty free sales slipped out by the Treasury.
The perk on items such as electronics, food and clothing for passengers travelling outside the EU is ending on December 31.
It is worth £12.1million, TaxPayers’ Alliance analysis found.
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And Mr Johnson said he had concluded the UK must get ready for an Australian-style trading arrangement with the EU — No10’s code for No Deal.
He said he would now instruct his team to focus on the practicalities of severing ties to make travel, special security and road haulage as smooth as possible.
Announcing his decision, the PM said: “As far as I can see they have abandoned the idea of a free trade deal. There doesn’t seem to be any progress coming from Brussels.”
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