The BREXIT negotiations will not end in a “no matter what” deal between the UK and the European Union, stressed Charles Michel when he warned that the bloc would not give up demands for a level playing field.
The Brexit negotiations are expected to reach a turning point on Friday after European Union leaders discussed the state of affairs at the recent EU summit in Belgium. European Council President Charles Michel insisted the bloc was determined to sign a trade deal but said it would continue to push for a level playing field at the end of the transition period. Mr Michel said: “We want an agreement, but we also want to protect a level playing field.
“It is also the question of the integrity of the internal market.
“We are ready to continue negotiating with the UK. These are difficult negotiations, we all know that. “
He later added in French that Brussels would not agree to a “no matter what” deal in order to reach an agreement.
French President Emmanuel Macron also said the UK must commit to a level playing field if the government is to reach a deal before the end of the year.
While discussing the issues still to be debated, Mr Macron said: “The second element is a just position between the European Union and the UK.
“We want to be sure that we have a level playing field, especially when it comes to social and environmental rights. The consequences of Brexit must not cause environmental or social dumping. We will also reach an agreement on that.
“I want to be clear. This deal is not going to hit me at any cost. If these conditions aren’t met, we may not have a deal. We have prepared for this eventuality. France is ready. “
And the Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte reiterated the assessment and added: “We want a deal. We will work towards this goal until the last minute, ”said Conte before an EU summit in Brussels.
“But we need a fair deal,” he said, adding that Italy is not looking for a deal “at any cost”.
It comes after Boris Johnson warned that he would make a decision on the future of the Brexit negotiations after the Brussels summit.
Speaking to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday, Mr Johnson reiterated Britain’s commitment to an agreement, but criticized the lack of progress in trade talks over the past two weeks.
A spokesman for Number 10 said after the phone call: “The Prime Minister noted that a deal is desirable but expressed disappointment that no further progress had been made in the past two weeks.
“The Prime Minister said he was looking forward to the outcome of the European Council and would think about it before setting out the UK’s next steps in the light of his 7th September statement.”
However, a document leaked prior to the start of the summit suggested that Michel Barnier be asked to hold onto his arms and resist until the UK agrees to make substantial concessions on future relations.
The ‘Draft Conclusions’ states:’ The European Council recalls that the transition period ends on 31 December 2020 and notes with concern that progress is still being made on key issues of concern to the Union not enough to reach an agreement.
“With this in mind, the European Council invites the negotiator to continue negotiations over the coming weeks and calls on the UK to take the necessary steps to enable an agreement.”
An earlier version of the final document calling on Mr Barnier to “step up negotiations” in order to reach a trade deal was agreed before the end of the year.