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Post-Brexit trade talks between the EU and Britain are currently at a stalemate, as the two sides have failed to reach an agreement on several areas, including the UK’s three red lines. If an agreement is not reached by October, the UK will default towards a no deal Brexit – something Michel Barnier has said he doubts will happen.
Former Brexit Party MEP Rupert Lowe has revealed the EU’s chief negotiator previously made the comments to him.
He said Mr Barnier indicated he didn’t think the UK’s no deal threats had any weight.
As a result, the Brexiteer said he hopes Britain can “hold its nerve” against the bloc, as the talks between the two sides intensify.
Mr Lowe wrote on Twitter: “When I spoke to Barnier about Brexit, it was always clear he never actually expected the UK Government to follow through.
“Has the penny dropped? I really hope Frost can hold his nerve.
“We’ve played Barnier’s game for far too long.”
As a result, Express.co.uk is asking its readers whether you think Boris Johnson should call Mr Barnier’s bluff and force a no deal? Vote in our exclusive poll.
Trade talks with the EU are currently at a deadlock, as the two sides fail to agree on three fundamental areas: fishing rights, the level playing field demand and whether the UK should remain tied to the European Court of Justice (ECJ).
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Mr Barnier has warned European businesses to prepare for “inevitable changes” to take place at the end of the Brexit transition period.
He said firms and citizens have just five months to prepare for Britain leaving the bloc’s single market and customs union.
The EU’s chief negotiator said: “The Brexit transition ends on December 31.
“In five months, the UK leaves the EU’s single market and customs union.
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“Changes are inevitable, with or without an agreement on the new partnership.
“Companies and citizens must get ready.”
The European Commission has issued a 39-page dossier of preparations businesses and citizens needs to make before the end of the year.
The UK has also urged British pharmaceutical companies to stockpile six weeks’ worth of drugs in preparation for the end of the Brexit transition period in December.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) wrote a letter to medicine suppliers encouraging them to prioritise stocking their reserves to protect against any disruption that may happen in January.
The next round of talks will take place in Brussels on August 17, with another round scheduled for the week commencing September 7 in London.
Mr Johnson has said negotiations must be wrapped up by October, to allow businesses sufficient time to prepare for the end of the EU transition period in December.
The EU has also imposed a deadline of October 15, to allow sufficient time for the deal to be signed off by the European Parliament.
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