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The Telegraph

Angela Merkel warns EU to get ready for no deal ahead of Boris Johnson’s Brexit deadline

Angela Merkel warned the EU must get ready for UK trade negotiations to fail as Boris Johnson told ministers the UK should have “no fear” over a no deal Brexit if his October 15 deadline is missed on Thursday. The Prime Minister told his Cabinet he believed a deal could still be done by Thursday’s European Council summit in two days’ time but that was ruled out by Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator. Mr Johnson will speak to Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, on Wednesday after being briefed on whether a free trade agreement is in sight by David Frost, his chief negotiator. Mrs Merkel said the EU wanted to secure the trade deal and appeared to urge other member states to compromise in a speech to a Brussels-based EU institution. “Unfortunately we have to prepare for the event there will be no agreement,” the German Chancellor said, “We also have to take into account the reality; an agreement has to be in the interests of both parties, in British interests as well as the interests of the 27 member European Union.” In Luxembourg, Mr Barnier told Europe Ministers that not enough progress had been made on fisheries, the level playing field or enforcement to get the deal done by the summit. He made it clear he expects negotiations to continue beyond Mr Johnson’s deadline until the end of the month. EU diplomats said that Mr Barnier had their’ “full support”. UK government sources claimed Michel Barnier was to blame if the deadline was missed. They accused him of being unable to marshall the 27 member states behind necessary compromises in sectors such as fishing, where France has vowed to show “no weakness”. “The EU will continue to work for a fair deal in the coming days and weeks,” Michel Barnier tweeted. “There is some movement here and there, but it is not sufficient by far and no tunnel in sight,” an EU diplomat said. The “tunnel” is Brussels jargon for secret intense talks to clinch a deal. “Level playing field, fisheries and enforcement measures remain the key controversial issues,” the diplomat said. “The EU have been using the old playbook in which they thought running down the clock would work against the UK,” a British government source said. “But in fact all these tactics have achieved is to get us to the middle of October with lots of work that could have been done left undone.”

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