/Michel Barnier TO QUIT: EU’s Brexit negotiator drops MASSIVE hint during meeting

Michel Barnier TO QUIT: EU’s Brexit negotiator drops MASSIVE hint during meeting

While speaking during a meeting on Wednesday, Mr Barnier suggested his tenure could come to an end in the coming months. The Brexit transition period is due to expire on December 31 and talks between the UK and Brussels will next month step up a notch in a bid to find common ground on key issues to complete a trade deal. But when talking about the full “comprehensive framework” being completed, Mr Barnier said “probably somebody else” will continue crunch talks.


Referring to the ongoing trade talks, Mr Barnier said: “We will try to reach an agreement on the key issues.

“On the fundamental issues for trade including fisheries, level playing field, for transport, different kinds of transport. For internal security.”

He added: “We will take time after, probably somebody else, to continue the negotiations on the other issues to complete the comprehensive framework on this unprecedented partnership.”

Mr Barnier warned that a no deal exit from the bloc would hit Britain harder than EU member states.

Michel Barnier

Michel Barnier hinted he could soon quit as EU chief Brexit negotiator (Image: GETTY)


Michel Barnier with the UK’s chief Brexit negotiator David Frost (Image: GETTY)

He said it is in “the UK’s particular interest to avoid” a crash-out.

Mr Barnier told a forum via video link the EU will offer some flexibility on the contentious issue of fishing rights.

He said: “We are ready to find a margin of flexibility on fisheries.”

He added the role of the European Court of Justice was also problematic in talks and that the EU insists on Britain’s commitment to the European Convention of Human Rights.

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fishing uk

Michel Barnier said the EU is now ready to show some flexibility on fishing rights (Image: GETTY)

Mr Barnier called on Britain to implement last October’s deal governing the Irish border.

He said the EU wants strict customs checks and tariffs on some goods coming from mainland Britain into Northern Ireland in case goods move into EU-member Republic of Ireland.

He stressed that a free trade deal remains within reach but called on Boris Johnson’s Government to give “clear signals” that it is ready to work towards one.

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boris johnson

Boris Johnson leaves Downing Street on Wednesday (Image: GETTY)

michel barnier

Michel Barnier pictured wearing a mask in the European Parliament last week (Image: GETTY)

Mr Barnier also accused the UK of “backtracking” on its commitments laid out in the political declaration.

He said: “Our problem is not related to timing, but to substance, in particular, that the UK keeps backtracking on its commitments in the political declaration.”

The political declaration is the 31-page document that sets out the direction of future negotiations between the two sides.

brexit timeline

Brexit timeline (Image: EXPRESS)

It was agreed on last October.

Unlike the Withdrawal Agreement, the political declaration has no legal force.

Mr Barnier added that he was neither optimistic nor pessimistic about the chances of striking a deal with Britain.


Michel Barnier on Wednesday hinted at plans to quit his role as EU chief Brexit negotiator (Image: GETTY)

He said he remained determined to prevent a no deal exit at the end of the year. 

He said: “I believe that the deal is still possible.”

He said Britain must send “clear signals” that it wants to seal a deal with the EU on their relationship after Brexit. 

He said: “The ball is in the UK’s court.”

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