EU no deal panic as Michel Barnier admits Boris Johnson could walk away from talks

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The EU negotiator met with eight diplomats to discuss the current Brexit process as the two sides struggle to agree a deal. Speaking to the eight Eastern European officials on Monday night, the negotiator revealed two possible scenarios at the end of Brexit talks. The UK’s Internal Market Bill has sparked uproar in the continent, with Barnier indicating this may now show Mr Johnson’s intent to leave talks.

According to Politico, the negotiator did also admit the UK may be trying to gain leverage in talks.

Despite his fear, the negotiator did also insist a deal was still possible between the two sides.

The eighth round of talks concluded last week but were thrown into controversy following the release of the UK Internal Market Bill.

The legislation was brought to the house of Commons last week and was accused of attempting to infringe elements within the withdrawal agreement.

In particular, the new legislation allows the UK to dictate the notification of state aid to the EU.

Within the bill, it states: “No public authority apart from the Secretary of State may comply with a requirement of a provision of EU law applied to the United Kingdom by Article 10 of the Northern Ireland Protocol (State aid) to give the European Commission a notification or information relating to aid.”

This, however, violates certain agreements on state aid made in the withdrawal agreement which was signed in October.

As a result of this, the EU has called on the UK Government to withdraw elements of the new legislation.

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The bill, however, passed its first reading in the Commons by 340 votes to 263 on Monday.

The legislation will proceed for its second reading on Tuesday.

UK ministers have insisted the legislation is essential in maintaining trade between the devolved nations.

Officials have also stated, the new bill provides a fall back if the EU interprets the agreement in an extreme manner.


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However, Mr Barnier indicated what was agreed in October was to protect the peace process in Northern Ireland.

He said: “Protocol on IE/NI is not a threat to the integrity of the UK.

“We agreed this delicate compromise with Boris Johnson & his gov in order to protect peace and stability on island of Ireland.

“We could not have been clearer about the consequences of Brexit.

“Sticking to facts is also essential. A case in point: The EU is not refusing to list GB as a third country for food imports (SPS).

“To be listed, we need to know in full what a country’s rules are, incl. for imports.

“The same objective process applies to all listed countries.”

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