EU negotiatotor Phil Hogan said: “We had been waiting for the last three months for the UK to come to the table in terms of meaningful negotiations. And I actually say it’s only in the last week or two that we have noticed that people are starting to engage on the UK side. We welcome that very much.
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“I think there is now a realisation by people in the negotiating side of UK that time is running out.
« The British business has started to be more vocal, privately and publicly, in relation to the importance of reaching a deal.”
He said the EU was now wanting to know the UK’s state aid plans before they could move to the next stage.
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The EU has blasted British negotiators for not taking talks seriously
6.00am update: French minister says No Deal Brexit is better than a bad deal
French minister for Europe Clement Beaune has said No Deal Brexit is better than a bad deal and France will not be « intimidated » in forthcoming discussions.
Speaking on France Inter radio, he said: « We will not accept a deal at any price. Better no deal at all than a bad deal. »
3.50am update: Holyrood urged to counter UK plans to keep the UK single market
Holyrood has been urged to reject Westminster plans to maintain the UK single market after Brexit.
The legislation would mean products permitted for sale in one of the UK nations could be marketed in all.
Mike Russell will tell MSPs today that the plans will be “disastrous for devolution”.
2.20am update: Thousands of UK public sector roles to be created in employment boost
The public sector employment drive, following years of downsizing under austerity, comes ahead of the release on Thursday of government statistics on police and teacher employment.
Last year Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowed to enroll 20,000 new officers in England and Wales after years of decreasing job figures.
Mr Johnson said: “We have seen more clearly than ever the heroic efforts of our public workers during this pandemic.
“The fantastic teachers, police officers and NHS workers truly are the pride of the nation and embody the spirit of public duty that every one of us can aspire towards.”
10.45pm update: Verhofstadt sparks backlash over EU army demand
Guy Verhofstadt has sparked backlash from Brexiteers after demanding an EU army.
The Belgian MEP took to Twitter after it was announced that Donald Trump is pulling 12,000 US troops out of Germany in a row over Berlin’s contributions to Nato.
Mr Verhofstadt fumed: “Germany and EU continue to be bullied by @realDonaldTrump. The problem is not money. EU countries combined are 2nd biggest military spender (with China). Real problem is 27 armies and 27 budgets. Time for a real European defence market, strategy and army.”
But Mr Verhofstadt’s call for an EU army prompted a furious reaction from Brexiteers.
One wrote: “What absolute nonsense! We have been saying this for years. The EU is planning to create a single Armed Forces. Thank God for Brexit!”
Another commented: “The UK was told that an EU army was a fantasy…… clearly not.”
9.20pm update: David Frost told fishing must NOT be sacrificed in deal with EU
David Frost has been warned not to back down on fishing in a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU.
Former Brexit Party MEP June Mummery insisted any compromise with Brussels should not involve fishing.
Ms Mummery told Express.co.uk: “I am worried about David Frost saying we might have to compromise.
“I don’t care what Mr Frost uses but he cannot use fishing that’s not fair.”
Ms Mummery’s comments come after reports that Mr Frost privately assured Conservative MPs the UK would win 60 percent of its demands in a post-Brexit trade deal.
Former Brexit Party MEP June Mummery insisted any compromise with Brussels should not involve fishing
8.45pm update: Portugal slams bloc as huge row erupts over freedom of movement
Portugal has accused European Union states of a lack of solidarity by refusing to lift their pandemic travel restrictions.
Lisbon claimed countries had broken an agreement to instate freedom of movement after coronavirus lockdowns were lifted across the continent.
In a fiery statement, its foreign ministry said: “We understand we were all required to reinstate freedom within the EU from July 1 at the latest.
« We believe restrictions and decisions taken by member states related to other member states manifestly disregarded this bond.”
8pm update: EU on alert as Italy’s biggest eurosceptics team up for Italexit
Italy’s two most prominent anti-Brussels politicians could join forces to drag the country out the European Union, one has claimed.
Gianluigi Paragone, who has recently formed the “No Europe for Italy” movement, has signalled he could partner with Matteo Salvini’s League if it helps deliver “Italexit”.
But he said the alliance would not come at the cost of seeing former European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi elected as Italian president.
Asked whether he would consider creating a eurosceptic coalition, Mr Paragone said: “It is certain that I will not be allied with those who vote or nominate Mario Draghi as President of the Republic.”
“I have the goal of achieving Italy’s exit from the European Union,” he added.
7.10pm update: Hannan celebrates reports of imminent trade deal between UK and Japan
Former Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan tweeted: “Good news. We will agree a more ambitious trade deal with Japan than that concluded by the EU last year.
“We are mirror island monarchies at opposite ends of the Eurasian landmass, natural allies and commercial partners.”
Gianluigi Paragone, who has recently formed the “No Europe for Italy” movement, has signalled he could partner with Matteo Salvini’s League if it helps deliver “Italexit”
6.30pm update: Tory frontbencher dismisses no-deal Brexit talk
Conservative frontbencher Baroness Scott of Bybrook has dismissed talk of a no-deal Brexit.
Tory whip Lady Scott told peers there is « convergence in many areas » and work is ongoing to « bridge the gaps », adding it is believed an agreement on the future relationship can be reached in September.
She said the UK has already left the EU with a deal, through the Withdrawal Agreement, and the Government will ensure the country is prepared for the end of the transition in December « in all trading scenarios ».
5.50pm update: Pro-Brexit think tank hails ‘excellent news for global Britain’
The Bruges Group has hailed reports that the UK is likely to sign a post-Brexit trade deal with Japan within weeks.
The pro-Brexit think tank tweeted: “Excellent news for global Britain.”
4.30pm update: Barnier warns UK deal talks could collapse on October 31
Michel Barnier has warned Brexit talks could break down on Halloween unless a fisheries deal can be found in the coming weeks.
The EU’s chief negotiator set a new deadline of October 31 for Britain and Brussels to finally conclude their free trade agreement.
During a hearing with French MPs, Mr Barnier warned it would be far from straightforward because of Boris Johnson’s promise to deliver a “huge difference” for British fishermen.
Michel Barnier has warned Brexit talks could break down on Halloween unless a fisheries deal can be found in the coming weeks
3.45pm update: Brexiteer praises Frost for holding firm on fishing in negotiations
Former Brexit Party MEP Rupert Lowe has praised Boris Johnson’s Europe adviser David Frost for refusing to bow to the EU’s pressure on fishing in trade talks.
He tweeted: “Not surprised at all to see the French Government are upset with our fishing demands.
“@DavidGHFrost – if Macron is unhappy, you’re probably doing something right!
“It should be our Government’s job to stand up for British fishermen. They’ve been neglected for far too long!”
1.59pm update: Michel Barnier’s U-turns revealed
An economist has illustrated how the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier has backtracked on previous comments.
Read the full story here.
12.38pm update: UK accelerates spaceports plan
The UK is set to accelerate plans for seven new post-Brexit spaceports in south west England, Scotland and Wales.
If successful, the spaceports stations would allow the UK to gain a foothold in the global communications satellite market.
Transport Secretary, Shapps said: « The UK’s space sector can strengthen our national capabilities, create high-skilled jobs and drive future economic growth across the UK.
« Getting the rules in place for space launches from UK territory may seem like one small step. But it paves the way for a giant leap in the development of our space sector.
« This is technology’s high frontier and we will soon be able to reach it with specialist small payload launches from British soil. »
Britain is set to agree a trade deal with Japan in the coming weeks after talks started on June 8
11am update: Northern Ireland hit with Brexit blow
UK drivers in Northern Ireland will need a green card to travel into the Republic and European Union from next year.
Although it will keep the border on the Island of Ireland open, there is concern the green card could be expensive.
John Martin, policy manager at the Road Haulage Association in Northern Ireland said: “This is just another layer of bureaucracy if introduced, albeit feedback from some of the insurance sector says that insurance certificates already have this green card provision already included.
“If insurance companies begin to start charging operators for this, and if there is a limit on the duration of the green cards, then that adds to the burden hauliers are already facing as a consequence of Brexit.”
9.50am update: First round of talks completed with New Zealand
International Trade Secretary Liz Truss confirmed the completion of the initial phase of talks as she praised New Zealand as a « friend and ally » of the UK.
She said: « We are a step closer to reaching a comprehensive trade deal with a like-minded friend and ally.
« The first round of talks were positive and productive, with a shared aim to be particularly ambitious in areas including digital trade and sustainability. »
9.39am update: EU hopeful of a trade deal
The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier admitted last Friday that a deal with the UK is still possible.
According to sources, Mr Barnier told a meeting of EU officials last Friday a deal remain possible.
He said: « I remain confident that a balanced and sustainable deal remains possible, even if less ambitious. »
8.40am update: France refuses to drop demands over fisheries
Emmanuel Macron has refused to drop his demand over continued access to Britain’s waters post-Brexit.
European affairs minister Clement Beaune told French radio: “We will not accept a deal at any price.”
The UK is looking to agree a new structure for access to fisheries while the EU wants an agreement similar to what is currently in use.
7.51am update: Britain set to agree trade deal with Japan
Britain is set to agree a trade deal with Japan in the coming weeks after talks started on June 8.
The talks have been at an advanced stage and The Sun has reported a deal could be agreed by September.
The agreement will seek to eliminate tariffs on goods from Britain entering Japan.
A Government source said: « Japan is happening — and it’s happening soon.”
7.26am update: Michel Barnier issued warning over Brexit talks
At a dinner in London this week, David Frost warned his counterpart concessions must be made by Brussels if talks are to produce a free trade agreement.
Although the UK has now conceded on the need for an overarching deal, as opposed to a series of separate agreements, Brussels has remained fixed on its position.
A UK Government spokesman said: « We have had constructive discussions and both sides have shown pragmatism and willingness to move on difficult areas.
« What is needed now is internal reflection on the EU side on whether what they’re asking us is consistent with our status as an independent country.
“If they do that and come to the correct conclusion, we’ll be able to move forward.”
Additional reporting by Bill McLoughlin.