United Kingdom ready to quit European Union on 'Australia terms'

  • United Kingdom ready to quit European Union on 'Australia terms'

United Kingdom ready to quit European Union on 'Australia terms'

Teams led by the Prime Minister's Europe adviser, David Frost, and the EU's Michel Barnier held talks in Brussels for the first time since the coronavirus crisis forced them to be held remotely.

The meetings will alternate weekly between Brussels and London throughout July and at the end of August, with London hoping for a deal as soon as possible.

David Frost, who is Johnson's top official for European affairs and is also taking up the role of national security adviser, led the United Kingdom delegation on Monday into the headquarters of the EU's executive arm, the European Commission, at the start of a week of negotiations. Both sides have said video talks were not the best format.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said a deal can be done in July, but the European Union remains consumed by the coronavirus recovery fund and the next seven-year budget.

This week also marks the beginning of five weeks of "intensified" talks.

That is likely to mean that Frost will hold both positions for at least a short period of time.

He said the European Union remains "calm and united in its principles and values".

They remain the level playing field, fisheries, police and judicial cooperation, and how disputes will be resolved in the future.

"Since the last round of negotiations, a high-level meeting took place between prime minister Johnson and the presidents of the European Commission, Council and Parliament, where the two sides agreed in their statement that "new momentum was required" in the discussions", Jim Reid, a strategist at Deutsche Bank, wrote in a note to clients on Monday.

At the weekend, Chancellor Angela Merkel warned Johnson's government that it would "live with the consequences, of course, that is to say with a less closely interconnected economy", if it stuck to its "red lines".

Meanwhile, the European Research Group of backbench pro-Brexit Conservative lawmakers sent its own missive to Barnier on Monday "to encourage the development of a sense of urgency in the negotiations".