European Council President Donald Tusk says he will not cooperate with the UK on a no-deal Brexit and Boris Johnson will not want to go down in history as Mr ‘No Deal’.
Speaking at the start of the G7 summit of world leaders in the French seaside town of Biarritz, Mr Tusk said the European Union was “willing to listen to ideas that are operational, realistic and acceptable to all EU member states, including Ireland”.
Downing Street has been playing down any chance of a Brexit breakthrough, with the prime minister warning on Friday that people should “not hold their breath”.
Mr Johnson, who met German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron this week, said talks were making progress but it would not be easy to persuade the EU.
The main stumbling block is the backstop, which was intended to be used to avoid the return of a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland if a UK-EU trade deal is not reached.
In a wide-ranging speech in France, Mr Tusk said:
- Trade wars among G7 members will further erode trust between them
- If President Trump was using tariffs as a political tool it could be risky for the whole world
- Under no condition can the EU agree with a Trump proposal to bring Russia back into the G7
- Russia was excluded for annexing Crimea and backing an anti-Kiev rebellion in eastern Ukraine
- Summit will be “a difficult test of unity and solidarity” after a year where leaders found it hard to find common language