Scottish Daily Mail

Boris: A Brexit deal can be done... if EU wants it

- By James Franey and Daniel Martin Brexit · European Politics · UK News · Politics · British Politics · Boris Johnson · European Union · Michel Barnier · London · United Kingdom

BORIS John­son has pressed EU lead­ers to de­cide whether or not they re­ally want a trade deal, say­ing: ‘It can be done.’

The Prime Min­is­ter made the plea as Europe’s chief ne­go­tia­tor Michel Barnier ar­rived in Lon­don af­ter back­ing down on a threat to walk out of ne­go­ti­a­tions over lack of progress.

Mr Barnier is un­der­stood to be ex­as­per­ated about what he called ‘Bri­tish block­ages’ and has told MEPs he fears this week­end’s talks are doomed.

But Mr John­son said: ‘There’s a deal there to be done if they want to do it, which would ben­e­fit peo­ple on both sides of the Chan­nel. But let’s be ab­so­lutely clear – this coun­try can pros­per and will pros­per might­ily in ei­ther event and if we have to come out with a so-called Aus­tralian-style model... we will make a great suc­cess of it.’

Asked how likely a deal was, Mr John­son said: ‘I’m not go­ing to com­ment on that. Ev­ery­body’s work­ing very hard but clearly there are sub­stan­tial but im­por­tant dif­fer­ences still to be bridged.’

The three key stick­ing points re­main fish­ing rights, polic­ing a fu­ture deal and the ‘level play­ing field’ of com­pe­ti­tion rules for busi­nesses. With just a month to go, Mr Barnier has urged Down­ing Street to in­ter­vene in a clear sig­nal the EU be­lieves dis­cus­sions with Bri­tain’s chief ne­go­tia­tor, Lord Frost, are go­ing nowhere.

Mr Barnier told MEPs the UK ‘wants to get back 80 per cent of what we are cur­rently fish­ing in their wa­ters’. But he added Brussels will not accept this be­cause it ‘would mean the de­struc­tion of a large part of our fish­ing fleets’.

Lord Frost, said: ‘Some peo­ple are ask­ing why we are still talk­ing. My an­swer is that it’s my job to do my ut­most to see if the con­di­tions for a deal ex­ist. It is late, but a deal is still pos­si­ble and I will con­tinue to talk un­til it’s clear that it isn’t.’

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