The British Prime Minister batted back Barnier’s suggestion that the EU are open to a two-year Brexit transition extension.
The British government said, No change to the government’s position. The transition period will end on December 31.”
This comes as the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier wrote to opposition parties telling them that the EU is open to a two-year delay over the Brexit transition period.
Barnier wrote, “Dear Honourable and Right Honourable Members of Parliament. Thank you for your letter of 15 May 2020.
“I remain keen on and interested in hearing the views of the British political parties and stakeholders in order to appreciate all dimensions of the national debate.
“The European Union remains determined to build a new and ambitious partnership with the United Kingdom in the short time that is available, given your Government’s repeated statements that it will not agree to an extension of the transition period.
“I take note on your views of a possible extension to the transition period.
“Such an extension of up to one or two years can be agreed jointly by the two parties.
“The European Union has always said that we remain open on this matter.”
The UKs chief negotiator David Frost said, “Our view at the moment is that, that mandate, at least in key areas, is not a mandate that is likely to produce an agreement.
“A related question is if the EU must formally change its mandate or not.
“I remember last autumn we were told often the EU had to change its mandate if we wanted a different outcome on the Northern Ireland backstop.
“To my knowledge it never did, formally, but nevertheless changed its position.”
When asked if the government will accept any extension, Frost said it is their policy this will not be required.
He said, “If you’re asking do we think the EU needs to evolve its position to reach an agreement, yes, we do.”
Frost confirmed that Johnson will attend next months Brexit talks. Frost said, “The expectation on both sides is that these are done at leader level.
“And, therefore, yes, the Prime Minister would attend.”
Frost claimed that the UK are being treated as an “unworthy” partner by the EU.
He said, “Given this reality, we find it perplexing that the EU, instead of seeking to settle rapidly a high-quality set of agreements with a close economic partner, is instead insisting on additional, unbalanced and unprecedented provisions in a range of areas, as a precondition for agreement between us.
“Overall, we find it hard to see what makes the UK, uniquely among your trading partners, so unworthy of being offered the kind of well-precedented arrangements commonplace in modern free trade agreements.”