Brexit Britain stands firm as crunch EU talks on brink – ‘Will NOT give up our rights!’

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Downing Street insisted the UK will “engage constructively” with the EU over a deal on future relations but admitted “significant” differences still remain with just weeks to go. British negotiator David Frost had dinner with European counterpart Michel Barnier in London last night as both sides pushed for a breakthrough. But the UK will not give up its rights as an independent state, No 10 insisted yesterday.

“In terms of the discussions that we have been having throughout the intensified process, they have continued to be constructive but significant differences still remain on a number of important issues.”

Although the negotiators have met frequently over recent weeks, tensions still remain over key areas and the British team expect “difficult” discussions in the days ahead.

Britain wants Brussels to make a dramatic shift in its demands for the same access to UK fishing waters as it has now.

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Brexit Britain stands firm as crunch EU talks on brink (Image: getty)

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David Frost and Michel Barnier pictured before crunch talks (Image: getty)

It is also fiercely opposed to demands for so-called level playing field rules that will keep the country tied to EU rules.

No 10 believes leaders in the remaining 27 nations are continuing to hold out for terms that would never be acceptable to the UK despite being told the government will not shift.

“Our position on our sovereignty, laws and fisheries is clear, we will not give up our rights as an independent state,” the spokesman added.

“We will continue to engage constructively with the EU on these key issues and will work hard to reach the broad outline of an agreement, but as we have been clear all along we are not asking for a special, bespoke or unique deal.

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Boris Johnson ruled out an extension to the Brexit transition period (Image: getty)

“We have said that we don’t want talks to drag on into the autumn.”

Although Britain left the bloc in January, transition arrangements were put in place until the end of December to allow the next stage of negotiations to be carried out.

The latest round of talks is part of a summer blitz of intensified negotiations after coronavirus slowed down the process earlier this year.

Although the pandemic hit just as negotiations started, Boris Johnson ruled out an extension believing it would cause more uncertainty for the country.

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Brexit timeline: UK left the EU at the end of January (Image: nc)

The Prime Minister has repeatedly warned that Britain will walk away if an agreement cannot be reached within weeks because he wants to give businesses and individuals time to prepare for changes that will come into force on January 1.

Without an agreement, tariffs and quotas will be imposed on the UK.

But Mr Johnson insists the UK is ready to operate on world trade rules from 2021 if a deal cannot be struck, in the same way as Australia does with the bloc.

As well as trade, the UK and EU are also working to secure new arrangements on security, air travel and energy supplies.

That last round of talks is pencilled in for August but Downing Street refused to say if that would be the final chance to strike a deal.


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