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Eurocrat Michel Barnier said he wanted Britain to show the EU more respect and insisted there will not be a deal without key demands being met. The two sides continue to clash over the bloc’s demand to keep its access to UK fishing waters the same when transition arrangements end in December. It also wants the UK to sign up to so-called level playing field rules that will keep Britain tied to EU diktats.
Mr Johnson insisted a good agreement can be reached and talks will resume next week in London.
“I’m not remotely disrespectful of Michel or the EU system, which I know well and understand deeply,” he told LBC.
“I just don’t think that it’s right for us to proceed on the basis of the European Court of Justice continuing to arbitrate in the UK or us continuing to have to obey EU laws even when we are out of the EU, or us having to hand over our amazing fish stock.
“So, we are not going to do those things. We made it very clear.”
Britain’s chief negotiator David Frost returned from Brussels on Thursday after the first round of face-to-face talks since the coronavirus crisis and said there was still a big divide on a number of important issues.
Mr Johnson wants a deal to be struck within weeks but is ready to walk away rather than allow them to drag on.
The Prime Minister fears letting the process run into autumn would leave businesses and organisations too little time to put new systems in place ready for the end of the transition period.
Mr Johnson said he is “more optimistic” than Mr Barnier about the prospects of an agreement being reached.
But he insisted that Britain will leave the single market and the customs union and instead do business with the bloc using world trade rules if an agreement is not reached in time.
He said: “We now need to make sure we get a good deal.
“I’ve had some very good conversations with friends and colleagues around the EU. I’m a bit more optimistic than Michel is there.
“There’s a good agreement to be reached, but obviously if we can’t then we will have the very good option also of an Australian-style arrangement.”
Downing Street said despite talks breaking up early this week, discussions with Brussels “continue to be constructive”.
The PM’s spokesman said Mr Johnson remains optimistic about reaching a pact because there is precedent for the type of arrangements the UK wants in agreements the EU has reached with other countries.
“We need to continue to engage constructively,” the spokesman said.
“We remain committed to working hard to find an early understanding on the principles which could underlie an agreement.”
In June, Mr Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen ordered a five-week trade talk blitz, which runs until the end of this month, to inject momentum into the negotiations.
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