The European Union’s chief negotiator said the UK is asking too much and must give “concrete signals” it is ready to compromise. But the government pointed out it only wants the same terms Brussels has already given to other countries, including Canada. “We are not asking for a special, bespoke, or unique deal,” a spokesman said. “We are looking for a deal like those the EU has previously struck with other friendly countries like Canada.
“We‘ve been clear that we do not seek to remain part of the Single Market or Customs Union, as we do not believe this is in the UK’s interest.
“Our legal texts draw on precedent where relevant precedent exists, and we have made pragmatic proposals where it does not, for example on road transport or energy cooperation.”
Boris Johnson is prepared to walk away from the negotiations if the EU continues dragging its feet over an agreement.
An intense summer timetable for talks over July, August and September has been drawn up in the hope a deal can be reached by the end of October.
The Prime Minister will “stocktake” progress so far with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen this month.
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Mr Barnier said: “I hope high-level discussions with Prime Minister Johnson, that will take place this month, will provide a new political impetus to our toolbox.
“With determination on both sides, I am convinced we can overcome the difficulties.”
Mr Barnier accused Britain of wanting the benefits of membership of the bloc, such as quota and tariff-free access, despiting leaving.
He said the EU cannot and will not allow “cherry picking” by the UK.
“In many areas it is looking to maintain the benefits of being a member state without the constraints,” he said.
“It is looking to pick and choose the most attractive elements of the (EU) single market without the obligations.”
Downing Street is ready to start talks on the so-called “level-playing field” on the basis of the EU’s trade deal with Canada.
A spokesman said: “The UK has set out that we are committed to discussing open and fair competition as part of negotiations on the future relationship.
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“The UK must retain its sovereign right to regulate in a way that supports businesses, workers and consumers, while also protecting UK businesses from unfair competition from the EU market.
“It’s common in Free Trade Agreements to commit to uphold standards in areas such as workers’ rights and environmental protections to ensure that trading partners can compete fairly and cannot introduce measures that seek to distort competition.
“These will be reciprocal commitments and ensure that the UK retains its sovereign right to regulate.”