The UK formally left the European Union back in January and trade negotiations have been ongoing – but deadlock is yet to be broken. Britain has said it will leave the transition period by December 31, with or without a deal.
According to reports, in a set of draft European Council conclusions, to be adopted this week, capitals welcomed the UK and EU’s pledge to intensify efforts to reach an agreement this summer.
But they will warn businesses and EU institutions that they should also ramp up preparations for a new trading relationship with Britain – including a no deal.
The draft document “calls upon member states, Union institutions and all stakeholders to step up their work on preparedness and readiness at all levels for all outcomes, including that of no agreement”.
European capitals warned against chief negotiators Michel Barnier and Mr Frost from entering into so-called secret “tunnel negotiations”.
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EU member states “welcome the plans agreed by the Chief Negotiators to intensify the negotiation process and to create the most conducive conditions for reaching an agreement before the end of 2020 while recalling that negotiations have to be carried out in a way that ensures that the Council remains fully informed of any developments”.
And now, following the news, former MEP Rupert Lowe believes EU member states are “finally getting the message”.
He wrote on Twitter: “A clean break Brexit is looking more and more likely.
“‘No deal’ plans are being ramped up by EU member states, sounds like they are finally getting the message.
Brexit negotiators David Frost and Michel Barnier
“Knighthood for Frost if he delivers!”
Last week Prime Minister Boris Johnson, European Commission President Mrs von der Leyen and Council President Charles Michel agreed to intensify the Brexit talks.
During a high-level video conference, they vowed to work towards achieving a political agreement by next month.
A Brussels source said Mrs von der Leyen was optimistic about the chances of a deal following her talks with the Prime Minister.
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The source said the German has instructed Mr Barnier to seek common ground with his UK counterpart, Mr Frost.
Negotiations are expected to resume in Brussels on June 29, with a new focus on political conversations between the most senior officials on both sides.
Subsequent rounds throughout will be held between London and the Belgium capitals.
The two sides have also agreed to the possibility of holding talks in August and September if they believe a deal is possible.
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Earlier this month, Michael Gove confirmed the UK would not be extending the Brexit transition period.
He said: “We have informed the EU today that we will not extend the Transition Period. The moment for extension has now passed.
“At the end of this year, we will control our own laws and borders which is why we are able to take the sovereign decision to introduce arrangements in a way that gives businesses impacted by coronavirus time to adjust.
“Today’s announcement is an important step towards getting the country ready for the end of the Transition Period, but there is still more work to be done by both government and industry to ensure we are ready to seize the opportunities of being a fully independent United Kingdom.”