Oct. 19 (UPI) — The chief Brexit negotiator for the European Union stressed Monday the bloc was prepared to “intensify” trade talks with Britain after holding a call with British dealmaker David Frost.
Michel Barnier‘s comments appeared to be an attempt to meet a conciliatory tone, but senior cabinet minister Michael Gove seemed to dig in, saying Britain’s “firmness” in negotiations is “paying off.”
“I confirmed that the EU remains available to intensify talks in London this week, on all subjects, and based on legal texts,” Barnier said on Twitter after his phone call with Frost. “We now wait for the [Britain’s] reaction.”
Gove accused the European Union of ending trade negotiations with Britain and more talks would be “meaningless” unless the bloc showed more flexibility toward British positions. He told the House of Commons Britain’s standing its ground to EU demands in trade talks is “bearing fruit.”
“I now believe it is the case that Michel Barnier has agreed to the intensification of talks and also to working on legal texts,” Gove said. “I think a reflection of the strength and resolution our prime minister showed, in stark contrast to the approach on which the opposition have often enjoined us of simply accepting what the EU wants at every stage.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week told Britons they should prepare for a no-deal Brexit based on the latest talked with the European Union. Johnson blamed the bloc for the impasse that could leave both sides without an agreement by the start of next year.