France ‘prepared’ to help forge EU deal with UK after Brexit

France ‘prepared’ to help forge EU deal with UK after Brexit

The French president will push EU leaders to make a post-Brexit deal with the UK at an upcoming meeting. Emmanuel Macron aims to use an EU summit next month to put pressure on the bloc’s leaders to push for a partnership with Britain. At the meeting in Salzburg, Austria, Mr Macron will outline a new structure for European alliances, based on “concentric circles” with the EU and Euro at its core and the UK in a second ring, according to The Times. The newspaper quoted a diplomatic source saying: “He sees a no-deal scenario as something that would break links and poison relations at a time when Europe needs to be united beyond the EU.” Mr Macron has said that any Brexit deal must not damage the EU’s integrity.

It comes as the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier offered words of optimism, saying: “We are prepared to offer Britain a partnership such as there never has been with any other third country.” Image: Michel Barnier said the EU respected the UK’s ‘red lines’ His words helped trigger a sharp rise for sterling, seeing the pound rise to its highest level for weeks. “We respect Britain’s red lines scrupulously,” Mr Barnier said during a news conference in Berlin. “In return, they must respect what we are. Single market means single market. There is no single market a la carte.”

Following his comments, the pound rose to more than $1.30 for the first time in over three weeks. Sterling jumped by a cent against the dollar, and was also up by a cent against the euro at just over €1.11. Mr Barnier’s comments came as Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab admitted the UK and EU might miss October’s deadline for agreeing a divorce deal. With negotiations still deadlocked on issues such as the Irish border, Mr Raab called for “renewed energy” to push an agreement over the line. Giving evidence to the House of Lords’ EU select committee, Mr Raab said: “It is important as we enter the final phase of the negotiations in the lead up to the October council and the possibility that it may creep beyond that, we want to see some renewed energy.

Pound rises as EU’s Barnier hints at ‘ambitious’ Brexit deal “We’re bringing the ambition and the substance of our white paper on the future relationship and also, I think, some pragmatism to try and go the extra mile to get the deal that I think is in both sides interests. “We need that to be matched obviously – it’s a negotiation.” His comments appear to confirm reports that EU and UK officials are now aiming to finalise divorce terms by the middle of November at the latest, which could prompt an emergency Brussels summit. Mr Raab also said a no-deal Brexit could alter the payments of the UK’s £39bn divorce bill to Brussels. Mr Raab’s fellow Brexiteers have argued no money is payable to the EU if there is no final agreement. Earlier on Wednesday, de facto deputy prime minister David Lidington delivered a warning to both Brussels and Tory Brexiteers. He urged them to swallow their opposition to Theresa May’s Chequers plan for the future UK-EU relationship or risk no deal.

Mr Lidington told a French business conference: “With exactly seven months until the end of Article 50 process and less than two months ahead of the October European Council, we face the choice between the pragmatic proposals we are discussing now with the European Commission, or no deal. “The alternative models do not meet the level of ambition or the outcome we all want to see delivered. “So, we need the EU to engage with us on our positive vision of the future relationship.”

 

Poll reveals British voters no longer care how or when we leave the EU

Poll reveals British voters no longer care how or when we leave the EU

The majority of voters – including those who backed Remain – now want ministers to just get on with Brexit, a poll has shown. Some 60 per cent said they no longer care how or when we leave the European Union, but ‘just want it all over and done with’. The survey by Deltapoll found that even 48 per cent of Remainers agreed, compared to 47 per cent who did not. The poll results are likely to please Downing Street as they seek to win support for the Prime Minister’s Brexit blueprint- the plan thrashed out by her Cabinet at Chequers.

The majority of voters – including those who backed Remain – now want ministers to just get on with Brexit, a poll has shown  According to the poll of 2,047 adults, 76 per cent of Tory Leave voters and 75 per cent of Labour-leaning Brexit supporters just want to get on with leaving the EU. Among those who backed Remain, 58 per cent of Tories and 42 per cent of Labour voters said they agreed. Tycoon: I’d bet my £3bn fortune on UK getting free trade pact   ONE of Britain’s wealthiest entrepreneurs is so convinced the country can get a free trade deal after Brexit that he would bet his £3.6billion fortune on it. But Peter Hargreaves, who co-founded blue-chip investment firm Hargreaves Lansdown in 1981, accused ministers of failing in their duty to negotiate a good deal as the UK leaves the EU. Nonetheless, in an interview with Bloomberg, he said: ‘The best option is no deal. No deal would give us free trade with Europe because the three biggest economies in Europe, outside Britain, are huge exporters to the UK – that’s Germany, France and Italy. And those three economies would absolutely demand free trade from the EU. ‘I guarantee my entire wealth that we would get free trade.’

Joe Twyman, director of Deltapoll, said: ‘What these results show is that for many people, particularly those who voted to leave the EU, the precise details of the negotiations are not important. ‘While politicians and commentators from all side of the political spectrum dissect, debate and discuss the minutiae of Brexit, the majority of British voters just feel like they want to get it over and done with as soon as possible.’ The poll results are likely to please Downing Street as they seek to win support for the Prime Minister’s Brexit blueprint. Aides hope voters will ultimately choose to back the plan thrashed out by her Cabinet at Chequers, rather than send the Government back to the drawing board. Ahead of the Brexit deadline in March next year, Mrs May has said the country has a choice of either supporting her plan or leaving the EU without a deal. Yesterday she visited Edinburgh on the latest leg of her UK-wide tour to gain support for her plan. But an international trade expert last night warned that her proposals to charge varying rates of customs tariffs on goods coming into the UK – depending on whether they were eventually destined for the continent or not – would fall foul of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Health chiefs call for stockpile of drugs in case of no deal  DRUG companies will be asked to stockpile up to six weeks of medicines in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The Department of Health is expected to write to pharmaceutical companies, urging them to boost stocks to provide cover in case of import delays. The move is thought to be part of plans to ensure medical supplies will not be affected if Britain leaves the EU without a deal. The Government will pay for increased warehousing capacity but will not provide funds for the increased supply, the Health Service Journal said.

The news comes weeks after NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said significant planning was taking place. Mr Stevens said last month: ‘There’s extensive work underway between the Department of Health, other parts of Government, the life sciences industry and the pharma companies.’ In a report for the pro-Brexit group Lawyers for Britain, Professor David Collins from City Law School said at least two aspects of the so-called Facilitated Customs Arrangement could breach WTO law. He said the ‘illusory’ plan would ‘severely constrain the UK’s capacity to sign free trade agreements’ with other countries. He warned that foreign traders would find the system over-complicated and could lead some to decide not to bother exporting to the UK any more. Meanwhile, the railway industry called for customs checkpoints to be established at rail freight terminals across Britain to avoid congestion in Kent after Brexit. The Rail Delivery Group, which represents rail firms, said there could be ‘significant disruption and delays’ if only a single checkpoint near the entrance to the Channel Tunnel is used. Public and private sector funds should be used to install customs facilities at existing freight terminals across the country, such as Daventry, under the proposals. Former foreign secretary William Hague also warned Emmanuel Macron that it is not in France’s interests to stand in the way of Britain’s attempts to secure a favourable Brexit deal. Lord Hague said it was clear ministers see France as the ‘biggest national obstacle’ to an agreement. Writing in the Daily Telegraph, he said: ‘In the world of a rising China and a less reliable America, Britain and France will need each other more.’