Scottish Daily Mail
Boris: A Brexit deal can be done... if EU wants it
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.’