Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday Britain was ready to walk away from post-Brexit trade talks with a “no-deal” unless the European Union shifted its position.
“As planned, our negotiation team will go to London next week to intensify these negotiations,” she said on Twitter.
An EU official added: “It’s very good that he (Johnson) wants to keep on negotiating.”
Johnson accused the EU earlier on Friday of having refused to negotiate seriously for an agreement on the future relationship between Brussels and London, and that unless the EU changed course there would be no deal.
Asked to comment on Johnson’s statement that it was time to prepare for a no-deal scenario, a senior EU diplomat said: “A lot of EU leaders said the same thing last night in the debate.”
He was referring to an EU summit discussion on Thursday at which the 27-nation bloc delivered an ultimatum, calling on London to yield on key sticking points or settle for a rupture of relations with the bloc from January 1.
However, an EU diplomat noted that Johnson did not say specifically that Britain was leaving the negotiating table.
“So it’s all just rhetoric. He didn’t say they won’t keep on talking. So they will,” the diplomat said.
An EU official said the bloc’s Brexit negotiating team was “already packing for an intense week in London” and added: “On the whole Australia deal/Canada deal revival… it’s just not serious.”
The official was referring to Johnson’s comment that he had concluded Britain should get ready for January 1 with arrangements that are more like Australia’s based on simple principles of global free trade rather than a zero-tariff and zero-quota deal.