Macron warning to Johnson over fishing rights amid Brexit talks

EU puts onus on Britain to agree new trade terms, stands ready for no deal

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With both sides digging in their heels as another deadline passed Thursday, the European Union and Britain demanded concessions from one another in talks on a basic trade deal that would soften the economic blow of the coronavirus pandemic for all.

European leaders have demanded Britain give ground on fair trade rules to unblock stalled post-Brexit negotiations, angering London and putting the fate of the talks in jeopardy.

The immediate response from European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen was to say that the EU would carry on negotiating, with talks next week in London going ahead as planned.

Sectors such as automaking and agriculture, which face heavy tariffs, say they could be wiped out.

"As of tomorrow I will be speaking with my counterpart David Frost".

"Lord Frost said that, as the PM had made clear, the European Council's conclusions yesterday had left us without a basis to continue the trade talks without a fundamental change in the EU's approach to these negotiations".

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"That's what I have proposed to the British team", Barnier said.

He said that Johnson, who has threatened to quit the negotiations at the end of this week if a deal can't be struck, would respond on Friday (Oct 16).

After demanding that London make further concessions for a deal, European Union diplomats and officials cast Johnson's move as little more than rhetoric, portraying it as a frantic bid to secure concessions before a last-minute deal was done.

"They want the continued ability to control our legislative freedom, our fisheries, in a way that is obviously unacceptable to an independent country", Johnson said.

Frost also scoffed at the EU's charge that only Britain should budge, calling it "an unusual approach to conducting a negotiation".

Boris Johnson claimed Brussels had "abandoned" the ambition but insisted "we always knew there would be change" next year once the transition period ends "whatever type of relationship we had".

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"The trade talks are over", Johnson's spokesman James Slack said. "This effort must be reasonable", Barnier said.

Many in financial markets expect a thin deal by early November, though after several more weeks of drama. "There were none for the withdrawal agreements, there are none for the future relations, but unanimous support for our negotiator Michel Barnier", Macron said.

Meanwhile, Mrs von der Leyen has announced that she is pulling out of the summit to self-isolate after a member of her staff tested positive for coronavirus, even though she has tested negative.

Emmanuel Macron has warned Boris Johnson he will not allow French fishermen to be "sacrificed" for the sake of a post-Brexit trade deal between Britain and the EU.

But the British side has accused Brussels of trying to force concessions by running down the clock.

Negotiations between the two sides appear to have lost momentum in recent days.

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They also stressed the EU's earlier separation agreement with the United Kingdom must be fully implemented by the end of the 2020, in a move against the controversial draft United Kingdom law known as the Internal Market Bill. If an agreement can not be reached, trade would default to World Trade Organization rules, and tariffs and customs checks would be enforced.

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