• UK could cancel Brexit and stay in EU on same terms, says French government: Britain could still cancel Brexit and stay in the European Union on the same terms it currently enjoys, the French government has said. Nathalie Loiseau, the country’s European affairs minister, said on Thursday France and other member states still did not want Britain to leave the bloc. The confirmation by the national minister comes amid the looming prospect of a no deal, with the two sides apparently deadlocked on the issue of an Irish border backstop. Senior EU figures, such as Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and Council president Donald Tusk, have both said Brexit is still reversible. Whether the triggering of Article 50 – which began Britain’s legal move towards the exit door – can be cancelled is, however, the subject of legal dispute. (The Independent)
  • Austria’s Sebastian Kurz tells Theresa May to avoid ‘hard Brexit’: Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz has told Theresa May it is “important to avoid a hard Brexit”, after talks with the UK prime minister. Mrs May is in Salzburg as part of a mission by UK ministers to sell their post-Brexit trade proposals. Mr Kurz said he viewed Brexit “negatively” but felt negotiations were going “quite well”. Mrs May will now hold talks with Czech PM Andrej Babis before heading off on her summer holidays. Speaking at a brief joint press conference, Mr Kurz, who has just assumed the EU presidency for six months, said: “The Brexit decision is a decision we see very negatively. “But, of course, it has been taken by the British people so now we have to find a way to deal with it, and from our point of view it is important to avoid a hard Brexit.” (BBC News)
  • Brussels plots emergency no deal Brexit plans for British cats, dogs and ferrets: Brussels bureaucrats are drawing up emergency Brexit plans for British cats, dogs and ferrets after Jean-Claude Juncker took a personal interest in how “no deal” could damage the EU’s pet passport scheme. About a quarter of a million British pets travel to the continent every year using the scheme, which give the animals a ‘passport’ of good health so they don’t have to go into quarantine. However, if Britain was to crash out of the European Union without a deal, it would also fall out of the scheme and those cats, dogs and ferrets could face being caged in foreign pounds or simply turned away at the border. (The Telegraph)