The European Union will not accept a “pig in a poke” deal from Boris Johnson, European Council president Charles Michel has said following high-level talks with the prime minister.
Mr Michel said that the EU’s demands for a level playing field on post-Brexit rules and regulations - which have been flatly rejected by the prime minister - were “essential” to an agreement on future trade and security relations.
In a joint statement following a high-level video conference talks design to inject new vigour into stalled trade talks, Boris Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said they were ready to "intensify" negotiations which have delivered no breakthrough since the UK’s formal departure from the EU on 31 January.
Mr Johnson insisted he believes the UK has a “very good” chance of securing a trade deal with the EU by the end of the year, “provided we really focus now and get on and do it”. He said that the talks needed "a bit of oomph" and urged the EU to be ready to reach agreement by the end of the summer.
But Mr Michel said the EU would "never accept a deal which goes against the interests of the Union".
Using the English expression for an item offered for sale without the buyer being able to inspect its quality he said: "A broad and ambitious agreement, in line with European Council guidelines, is in our mutual interest. Ready to put a tiger in the tank but not to buy a pig in a poke. Level playing field is essential."