Brexit fury: Raab rips into ‘unwilling’ EU as he answers whether UK will finally walk away

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EU Council leaders delivered a damning assessment of Brexit talks at their latest summit as they claimed that not enough progress had been made for an agreement on the key areas: level playing field, government and fisheries. There were calls for the UK to make the necessary moves to strike a deal before the transition period deadline in December. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab warned BBC Radio 4 that “flexibility and political will” were needed from member states to get an agreement over the line.

He said: “We know that Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Council, spoke to the Prime Minister and pledged to intensify talks.

“The European Council meeting conclusions that came out this week didn’t refer to that.

“They also suggested that all the future compromises must come from the UK.

“There’s some other more emollient flexible language coming out of certain courts in Brussels, but I have to say I’m a bit surprised by those conclusions.”

Mr Raab continued: “There’s a deal to be done but there needs to be flexibility on both sides.

“There needs to be energy and good will and political will on both sides.

“We said we’d wait and see in a very carefully, sober way, not raising the temperature, to look at what the Council said.

“The Prime Minister will say more today, but I can tell you that we’re surprised by the attitude and disposition coming out of the European Council.”

At the beginning of September, Boris Johnson set a deadline of the October 15 EU summit as a time for a deal to be completed.

He had said: “If we can’t agree by then, then I do not see that there will be a free trade agreement between us, and we should both accept that and move on.”

Today host Mishal Husain pressed the Foreign Secretary over whether this meant that the UK was going to walk away from the talks.

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Mr Raab told listeners: “Obviously there comes a natural deadline, we’ve got to give businesses and services certainty.

“We’ve narrowed down the issues to the fisheries and level playing field, but they’re key points of principle.

“I’m surprised and disappointed by frankly the lack of flexibility and will that at least seems to have come out of the European Council.

“We have always said there’s a deal to be done, but it must require flexibility and pragmatism on both sides. That feels a bit lacking from the European Union.”

The Prime Minister is expected to give a statement regarding the Brexit negotiations later today.

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