EU chief Michel praises Biden’s ‘CLEAR support’ for bloc in spat over Boris’ Brexit plot
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After a phone call between the pair, Mr Michel claimed the President-elect had shown “clear support” for the bloc in the row over Downing Street’s Internal Market Bill. Brussels is furious at Boris Johnson’s plans to ignore sections of last year’s Withdrawal Agreement relating to Northern Ireland. But the Prime Minister has been adamant that the legislation is designed to protect food supplies to the province if negotiations break down between the EU and UK.
In a statement, the EU said: “President Michel also thanked the President-elect for his clear support regarding the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement the EU concluded with the UK last year.
“This agreement preserves peace and stability in Ireland and fully respects the Good Friday Agreement.”
During his successful campaign for the White House, Mr Biden slammed No10’s Brexit Bill.
He said failure to fully implement the Withdrawal Agreement would hinder any future trade negotiations between the UK and US.
The President-elect has been a vocal member of the Irish caucus in the Congress and openly speaks of his Irish roots.
Mr Biden has previously said he does not want the Good Friday Agreement to become a “casualty of Brexit” and that “any trade deal between the US and UK must be contingent upon respect for the agreement and preventing the return of a hard border”.
Dublin has sought to use its influence in Washington to pressure Britain into dropping the controversial clauses in the Internal Market Bill.
But Downing Street has been insistent it won’t scrap the legislation despite the criticism.
The EU and UK continue to hold discussions on the implementation of the Northern Irish Protocol in the Brexit Joint Committee.
Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove is expected to meet his EU counterpart Maros Sefcovic later this month for the next round of wrangling.
Meanwhile, the Brexit trade talks are still ongoing with Mr Johnson expected to personally intervene to get a deal across the line in the coming days.
Downing Street said there are still issues that need to be resolved as talks resumed today.
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But the Prime Minister and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen are poised to speak to push an agreement over the line.
Irish premier Micheal Martin fuelled hopes of a breakthrough being made within days.
He said: “I would be hopeful that by the end of this week we could see the outline of a deal.
“That remains to be seen. It’s down to political will. One must remain hopeful that a deal can be arrived at.”
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Fishing rights and state subsidies are the key outstanding issues holding up progress.
A No 10 spokesman said the UK has been very clear that it will become an independent coastal nation.
“We will take back control of access to our waters,” he added.
Brussels sources expect a last-minute trade-off on the so-called level-playing field and reduced access to Britain’s coastal waters to help get a deal across the line.
EU Parliament Brexit representative Christophe Hansen said the bloc would have to be prepared to meet Boris Johnson’s fisheries demands in order to clinch an agreement.
The Luxembourgish MEP said: “There will be compromises to be made on fisheries. The status quo, that is somewhere we’re not going to land.”
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