Tuesday, January 19, 2021
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EU warns Brexit trade talks under threat if UK backslides on deal


Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, will arrive in London on Tuesday with a stark warning to Boris Johnson that if he redraws last year’s Brexit divorce agreement then talks on a future trade deal will collapse.

Mr Barnier, in London for the eighth round of talks on a Brexit deal, will warn Britain that unless it stands by its previous commitments there is no prospect of a free trade agreement by the end of the year.

Mr Johnson on Monday tried to contain the fallout from the revelation by the Financial Times that he intends to pass a law overwriting parts of last year’s withdrawal agreement relating to Northern Ireland.

Responding to the FT report, Mr Barnier said he would press his UK counterpart David Frost on the government’s intentions, warning that “everything that has been signed in the past must be respected; it is what underpins confidence going forward.”

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson explained to Emmanuel Macron, French president, in a phone call that the changes were “limited” and technical, and that he stood fully behind the commitments made last year.

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