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Boris Johnson will 'bang the table' to bring urgency to Brexit talks by warning of No Deal

Boris Johnson will ‘bang the table’ on Sunday to try to bring urgency to Brexit talks by warning that the two sides are heading for No Deal if the pace of negotiations is not accelerated immediately. 

The Prime Minister is expected to use a video conference with the EU’s most senior figures to urge ‘renewed energy and commitment’ to reach an agreement by the end of the summer, and to accuse the bloc of using the Covid-19 epidemic as an excuse to drag their feet in the talks.

The meeting comes after Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove formally ruled out on Friday any extension of the Brexit transition period beyond December 31, but agreed to a six-month delay to full border checks including customs declarations and tariff payments. 

Mr Johnson will lead the high level meeting with Charles Michel, the President of the European Council, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, and David Sassoli, President of the European Parliament. 

Mr Gove and David Frost, the UK’s chief negotiator, will also take part to discuss the faltering path to a post-Brexit free trade agreement with Brussels. 

A senior Government source said: ‘It is now bang-the-table time. If there is not renewed energy and commitment to reach an agreement by the end of summer then we are heading for No Deal.’ 

The Prime Minister is expected to use a video conference with the EU’s most senior figures to urge ‘renewed energy and commitment’ to reach an agreement by the end of the summer

The Prime Minister is expected to use a video conference with the EU’s most senior figures to urge ‘renewed energy and commitment’ to reach an agreement by the end of the summer

Mr Johnson will lead the high level meeting with Charles Michel (right), the President of the European Council, Ursula von der Leyen (left) and several top European figures

Mr Johnson will lead the high level meeting with Charles Michel (right), the President of the European Council, Ursula von der Leyen (left) and several top European figures

The source said the EU had been slow to come to the table, using the excuse that member states and the Commission were focused on the coronavirus, adding: ‘The EU is not alone in having Covid and their finances to sort out.’ 

Officials in Brussels claimed that UK negotiators were pushing for a deal by quietly offering compromises in a number of below-the-radar areas – something strongly denied by the Government. 

Meanwhile World Trade Organization director general Roberto Azevedo today said he believes there ‘is a pretty good chance’ of the UK and EU striking a deal before the end of the transition period.

He told the BBC’s Andrew Marrr programme: ‘In these circumstances, the less disruption the better, the less turbulence the better.

‘The less turbulence is the closest to what you were before.

‘So in my view, if you can maintain the degree of integration and relationship that you had before Brexit, it is a less dramatic situation, of course, than if you had to go to WTO terms – which it is not a catastrophe.’

On WTO terms, he added: ‘It only covers a number of adjustments and those adjustments can be painful particularly for some sectors.

‘Overall, I think there is a pretty good chance that an agreement can be reached. Again, in my view the less changes the better.’

World Trade Organization director general Roberto Azevedo today said he believes there 'is a pretty good chance' of the UK and EU striking a deal before the end of the transition period

World Trade Organization director general Roberto Azevedo today said he believes there ‘is a pretty good chance’ of the UK and EU striking a deal before the end of the transition period

Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove formally ruled out on Friday any extension of the Brexit transition period beyond December 31

Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove formally ruled out on Friday any extension of the Brexit transition period beyond December 31

The negotiations will involve a mix of formal negotiating rounds and smaller group meetings in London and Brussels – compliant with Covid-19 public health guidelines – for the next five weeks. 

Last night, a Government official said: ‘The EU was a little slow to agree to an intensified timetable for talks… It’s welcome that they’ve now signed up to a sensible process to take the talks forward. 

‘The high-level meeting was always envisaged as a moment to push negotiations forward. We now need to get this resolved and deliver certainty for businesses at home and in the EU as soon as possible.’

However there was a warning note from Mr Azevedo over trade. 

He said WTO members will monitor any moves by the UK to introduce a ‘light touch’ approach to goods entering the country from the EU after the transition period.

On Friday, the UK Government said it is exploring whether to adopt fewer checks on imports from the EU for around six months.

Boris Johnson will ‘bang the table’ to try to bring urgency to Brexit talks by warning the two sides that a No Deal outcome is becoming increasingly likely

Boris Johnson will ‘bang the table’ to try to bring urgency to Brexit talks by warning the two sides that a No Deal outcome is becoming increasingly likely

He told Marr while such a move is ‘not a no-go by definition’, the UK would have to follow strict rules.

He told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: ‘You have transitional periods in most of these trade deals.

‘So, you may have a period where that ‘light touch’ may be part of the transitional agreement and other members of the WTO may take that as something acceptable.

‘It may, however, be done in a way that challenges the rules of the WTO a little bit more and then members, I think, will be looking very carefully.

‘But it is not a no-go by definition.’

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Written by Angle News

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