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- Emmanuel Macron reportedly wants the EU to be more generous in Brexit talks in order to avoid no deal.
- The French President is set to call for more flexibility in certain areas at a summit of European leaders next month.
- He is likely to focus on the area of security, where the UK is set to be excluded from a number of programmes.
- Both sides are still a long way from an agreement on the Northern Irish border.
LONDON – Emmanuel Macron has urged European leaders to throw Theresa May a lifeline and prevent the United Kingdom crashing out of the EU without a deal.
The French President believes no deal would do huge damage to the EU, according to The Times.
Because of this, Macron will reportedly use a summit of EU leaders in Austria next month to argue for an EU based on “concentric circles,” with EU nation states in the central ring, and the UK close by in the second ring.
“He [Macron] sees a no-deal scenario as something that would break links and poison relations at a time when Europe needs to be united beyond the EU,” diplomatic sources told The Times.
Macron is unlikely to soften his position on the indivisibility of the single market. Prime Minister May wants a “common rulebook” for goods after Brexit, which would effectively give the UK full single market access for goods.
However, he is more likely to urge European leaders to more generous on security. The EU has May’s red lines mean the UK must leave security initiatives including the Galileo sat-nav project and European Arrest Warrant.
EU and UK negotiators are still a far away from an agreement on the thorny issue of the Northern Irish backstop with just weeks to go until the October European Council summit where leaders want to finalise a Brexit deal.
Without an agreement on the backstop – the fallback option if trade talks fail to preserve the open Irish border – the UK will crash out without a withdrawal agreement, unleashing chaos and disruption across all areas of life.
In its first batch of no deal Brexit technical notices published last week, the UK government said that no deal would create an array of new border checks and threaten the pensions of millions of people, among other issues.
Chancellor Philip Hammond also said leaving the EU would make the UK £150 billion over 15 years.
Brexit talks are set to continue on a regular basis until the October council, with UK Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab scheduled to meet Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, on Friday, followed by talks the following week.