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EU chief urges UK to put Brexit ‘cards on the table’

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  • Post category:Economy / Europe / Politics
  • Post last modified:07/10/2020
  • Reading time:3 mins read

BRUSSELS: The president of the European Council Charles Michel urged British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday to clarify the UK’s position in deadlocked post-Brexit trade talks.
“Just talked to Boris Johnson,” Michel tweeted after the call, which an EU source said had been requested by Johnson. “The EU prefers a deal, but not at any cost. Time for the UK to put its cards on the table.”
Johnson has said he will give EU and UK negotiators until October 15 — when Michel will host an EU leaders’ summit — to show progress in the trade talks, or he may pull the plug.
But Brussels has refused the recognise the deadline and EU officials say no deal is possible unless Johnson explains how he plans to compromise with EU demands on fishing quotas, state subsidies and fair competition between firms on each side of the Channel.
Diplomats say Johnson must take a more direct role in the process, but an EU source described the conversation with Michel as a “state-of-play call”.
“We keep insisting on a deal which would be good for both sides and urge the UK to move,” the source said.
Another source said the call had lasted 20 minutes and was not a negotiation between the two leaders. Johnson had insisted on the importance of his October 15 date and of coming to a deal on fish.
Michel had countered that for Europe the “level playing field” rules for fair competition were just as important and warned that Britain has not moved far enough on how they would be overseen.
Next week’s EU summit — to which Johnson, the leader of a former EU member, is not invited — is the last one scheduled until December, although an extraordinary meeting is possible if there is a deal to sign, the source said.
Reacting directly to Michel’s tweet, the French minister for European Affairs Clement Beaune warned that member states would prefer Britain to leave the single market at the end of the year without a trade deal rather than compromise on their priorities.
“We are clear: We will not accept a bad deal,” Beaune tweeted in French, before switching to English to pick up a former British slogan from the long Brexit negotiations: “Better no deal than bad deal.”
“Our priorities are firm and defined: fish, fair competition and clear rules to ensure the deal in respected,” he said. | YouTube Channel

M M Alam

M. M. Alam is a Pakistan-based working journalist since 1981. Karachi University faculty gold medalist Alam began his career four decades ago by writing for Dawn, Pakistan’s highest circulating English daily. He has worked for region’s leading publications, global aviation periodicals including Rotors (of USA) and vetted New York Times as permanent employee of daily Express Tribune. Alam regularly covers international aviation and defense-related events including Salon Du Bourget (France), Farnborough (United Kingdom), Dubai (UAE). Alam has reported thousands of events and interviewed hundreds of people in Pakistan, UAE, EU, UK and USA. Being Francophone Alam also coordinates with a number of French publications.