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The Prime Minister is eager to get a free trade deal inked by the end of the summer and on Thursday told Emmanuel Macron it “does not make sense” to extend talks into the autumn. Talks are set to step up a notch next month as a series of “intensified” meetings between David Frost and Michel Barnier are scheduled. This week Mr Johnson was urged by MPs to bow to the EU’s core demands in order to avert a no-deal Brexit.
The UK has rejected the EU’s call to adopt a so-called “level playing field”.
The policy would mean Britain would agree to certain rules and regulations so businesses would not undercut firms in the EU.
Mr Johnson has stressed the UK cannot be aligned to Brussels’ rules in any way.
Brexiteer have also said that if Britain signs up to the level playing field it will damage the country’s prospects when it comes to striking trade deals with the rest of the world.
European MEPs have said such a reason was nothing but “an excuse” to dodge the policy.
MPs on the Future Relationship with the European Union Committee this week demanded that Mr Johnson sign up to fair competition rules with Brussels.
In the report, the lawmakers said: “The UK’s and EU’s respective red lines make it difficult to find common ground on ‘level playing field’ issues.
“We urge the parties to look for a solution that takes as its starting point the de facto alignment of the UK and the EU when it comes to current rules and standards, and explore how the UK and the EU could be given access to their respective markets on the basis that if either side moves away from these standards, or acts in a way that one side believes gives the other an unfair competitive advantage, then that access could be varied.”
The committee also called for a trade off between the level playing field and access to the single market.
They said if the UK were to lower its standards below the EU benchmark British financial services should accept less access to the single market.
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On Friday a senior French minister said the no-deal scenario cannot be excluded but stressed that such an outcome would not be in the best interests of the UK
Junior European Affairs Minister Amelie de Montchalin said she could not rule out the EU’s trade talks with departed ex-member Britain ending without an agreement.
She told Europe 1 radio: “I am not ruling out anything.
“Those who need a deal the most are the British.
“They cannot withstand a second shock after the epidemic.”
She warned that the UK “wouldn’t have access to the security net that is Europe, they wouldn’t have access to the stimulus fund” if a deal was not signed.
And referencing Mr Johnson’s comments to Mr Macron on Thursday when he said talks would have to be wrapped up over the summer, she slapped down the notion.
She said: “We will not yield to this deadline pressure, his final sprint that Britain want to impose on us in the hope we will cave in.
“We do not want a deal for the sake of having a deal but we want a balanced deal.”
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