‘No thanks, Michel!’ Barnier mocked after Brexit extension plea – ‘Not going to happen!’

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Meanwhile Robert Oulds, director of pro-Brexit think tank the Bruges Group, also suggested Mr Barnier had zero prospect of persuading the UK to delay the process beyond December 31, the day the transition process comes to an end. Speaking during a meeting of the European Economic and Social Committee, Mr Barnier  accused the UK of asking for too much in ongoing negotiations aimed at thrashing out a free trade deal. He added: “We are in favour of an extension, particularly given the current circumstances.”

However, former Southampton FC chairman Mr Lowe wasted little time in pouring cold water over the idea, tweeting: “Least surprising news of the year – Barnier has said the EU are in favour of an extension.

“No wonder! We stay locked in, paying the bill with no say? No thanks Michel!”

Mr Lowe’s comment received the backing of Twitter user Helen Hughes, who replied: “Not going to happen, thank God.”

In a reference to David Frost, the UK’s negotiator, Debbie Eaton added: “That Barnier feels the need to make sweeping statements to the media at every opportunity, tells me he is bricking it.

“Frost is right not to engage in a slanging match and carry on with no deal planning.”

Robert Oulds, of the Bruges Group, told Express.co.uk: “The British public will not stand for an extension.

“Boris Johnson has ruled out an extension.

“Parliament has legislated against an extension.

“There is simply not going to be an extension.

“Mr Barnier needs to understand that everything has changed in British politics.

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“We have a Government that will not roll back, Parliament has ruled back already and he needs to start negotiating seriously.”

Under the terms of Britain’s exit from the EU, both sides need to reach a deal by the end of October, leaving about four months for an accord.

Speaking today, Mr Barnier urged the UK to adjust its demands in the four months which remain prior to that deadline.

He said: “The truth is that in many areas Britain is demanding a lot more than Canada, Japan or many of our other trade partners.

“In many areas it is looking to maintain the benefits of being a member state without the constraints.

“It is looking to pick and choose the most attractive elements of the EU single market without the obligations.”

Mr Barnier said the main problem was Britain wanted quota- and tariff-free access to the EU while diverging from rules that govern the bloc.

He said Britain was seeking “almost complete freedom of movement” for some British businesses, full recognition of professional qualifications and for some customs rules and procedures to be recognised as equivalent.

Top British officials are preparing for talks with Mr Barnier on Friday before Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and the chairman of the 27 EU leaders, Charles Michel, later this month.

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