Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay urged Brussels to show “creativity and flexibility” in negotiations over Britain leaving the EU on Thursday, after the Finnish prime minister said London must produce new proposals by the end of this month.
“A rigid approach now, at this point, is no way to progress a deal and the responsibility sits with both sides to find a solution,” Barclay told a business forum in Spain.
Finland’s premier Antti Rinne said late Wednesday, following talks with French President Emmanuel Macron, that EU leaders “need to know what the UK is proposing” by the end of September.
Rinne said he and Macron “agreed that it is now time for (British Prime Minister) Boris Johnson to produce his own proposals in writing – if they exist.”
“If no proposals are received by the end of September, then it’s over,” he added.
Finland currently holds the rotating EU presidency.
“The UK wants a deal… (but) the backstop has to go,” Barclay said on Thursday, referring to a provision to protect an open Irish border in the absence of other arrangements.
“Now we are committed to carving out a landing zone and we stand ready to share relevant texts,” he said.
“But it must be in the spirit of negotiation with flexibility and with a negotiating partner that itself is willing to compromise.”
Conservative premier Johnson has vowed to withdraw Britain from the EU, with or without a deal, on Oct. 31.
Opposition lawmakers have accused him of merely paying lip service to talks with Brussels.