Brexit breakthrough: Huge sign deal between UK and EU is not too far away
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Brexit trade talks between the UK and the European Union intensified on Monday as face-to-face discussions resumed for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest round of trade talks will continue until Friday, where the UK’s Brexit negotiator David Frost will showdown with his EU counterpart Michel Barnier.
The clearest sign a breakthrough is about to be made has emerged following reports Mr Barnier is being considered for a top role in Emmanuel Macron’s cabinet re-shuffle, amid a disastrous showing at the second round of local elections in France.
A potential new role for the French politician also follows on from the news over the weekend coming out of Downing Street, that Mr Frost will replace Sir Mark Sedwill as national security adviser.
According to French Daily newspaper Ouest-France, Mr Barnier is being considered as a replacement for Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.
On Sunday, Mr Philippe was elected Mayor of the northern port city of Le Havre.
The French constitution allows him to appoint someone else to act as mayor while he remains Prime Minister.
Alex Pigman Brussels-based reporter for the AFP news agency wrote on Twitter: “Barnier is among those rumoured to be under consideration to take over as Prime Minister in Paris.”
Asked about Mr Philippe’s future, a source close to the French President said: “What follows will be enshrined in continuity.”
Emmanuel Macron is under mounting pressure to make changes after suffering loses in the second round of local elections.
Mr Macron’s La République En Marche party failed to win in any big city, leaving the under-fire President without control over a major local authority.
The resurgent Green party and its left-wing allies made significant gains after receiving the support of major cities including Lyon, Strasbourg, Bordeaux and Besançon.
As Brexit talks reach a crucial stage Mr Barnier said the EU would “make the most” of the intensified process over the coming weeks and months.
The Brussels chief added the bloc remains “calm and united in its principles and values”.
Meanwhile, Downing Street has reaffirmed the UK’s stance and warned Boris Johnson is prepared to walk away from a trade deal after Angela Merkel ramped up no deal preparations.
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Mrs Merkel told the German parliament that although talks between the UK and EU were intensifying the EU “must be prepared” for the possibility that a deal will not be reached.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We believe that there is a free trade agreement to be reached but we have also been very clear that we will be prepared for either eventuality at the end of the year.
“Whether that be a free trade agreement or having a trading relationship based on the same terms that Australia currently has.”
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