UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has fired a shot across the bow of the European Union, warning the bloc that Britain is ready to walk away from post-Brexit trade talks without a deal unless Brussels shifts its stance.

Johnson accused the union of failing to negotiate seriously, and said Britain should “get ready” to operate on World Trade Organization rules from January.

“Unless there’s a fundamental change of approach, we’re going to go to the Australia solution, and we should do it with great confidence,” the UK leader said. The ‘Australia solution’ would mean an exit without a deal on future relations ready for when the Brexit transition period ends in the new year.

Johnson accused the EU of wanting to control the UK’s legislative freedom and its fisheries. “It’s becoming clear the EU don’t want to do the type of Canada deal that we originally asked for,” he said.

“If there’s a fundamental change of approach, of course we are always willing to listen, but it didn’t seem particularly encouraging from the summit in Brussels.”

The saber-rattling drew a shift response from the EU as the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, suggested in a tweet that the union was also willing to walk away from the negotiations. “The EU continues to work for a deal, but not at any price,” she said.

🇪🇺-🇬🇧 talks: the EU continues to work for a deal, but not at any price. As planned, our negotiation team will go to London next week to intensify these negotiations.

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