The French President will block any bilateral talks that go over the head of the European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier. Amid growing frustrations in Paris, Mr Macron believes the “level-headed, methodical approach” of Theresa May, Remainers and moderate Brexiteers has disappeared from the British strategy. Instead, Elysee officials believe Mr Johnson has emerged as a British version of the US President Donald Trump.
Despite reservations, Mr Macron has invited the Prime Minister to visit France after they spoke on the phone recently.
They are also expected to hold talks at the G7 summit at the French seaside town of Biarritz between August 24-26.
But Mr Macron will insist that substantial Brexit talks are left to Mr Barnier, blocking any chance that Mr Johnson has of attempting to divide and rule amongst EU leaders.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is also keen to meet Mr Johnson at the G7 summit, but will insist any talks won’t happen under the precondition of ditching the controversial Irish backstop.
After being named Prime Minister last month, Mr Johnson told Mr Macron and Ms Merkel that Britain won’t return to the negotiating table unless his demands to scrap the backstop are met.
Of the calls, a No 10 spokesman said: “When the prime minister has these conversations with fellow leaders and the discussion moves on to Brexit, he will be setting out the same message which he delivered in the House of Commons.
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“He wants to do a deal. He will be energetic in trying to seek that deal, but the withdrawal agreement has been rejected three times by the House of Commons. It is not going to pass. That means reopening the withdrawal agreement and securing the abolition of the backstop.”
But officials in Paris said Mr Macron would continue to operate within the EU’s strategy, which is to refuse any renegotiation of the Brexit deal.
French Europe minister Amelie de Montchalin took a swipe at the Prime Minister after the two leaders tense late-night call.
She said: “From our side, we need to be responsible.
“That means being clear, predictable and it means on the other side that we need to create a working relationship, that there aren’t playing games, posturing, provocations.”
Mr Barnier recently set out the EU’s position in a memo, in which he warned member states to remain united…Read full story below
The French President will block any bilateral talks that go over the head of the European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier. Amid growing frustrations in Paris, Mr Macron believes the “level-headed, methodical approach” of Theresa May, Remainers and moderate Brexiteers has disappeared from the British strategy.