Posted October 2, 2020 9:29 pm by

UK looks to EU to break Brexit talks impasse

A European summit on October 15 is viewed by both sides as the last date by which an agreement must be reached © AFP/File / Tolga AKMEN

Brussels, Belgium, Oct 2 – Britain and the European Union on Friday said post-Brexit trade talks remained deadlocked on key areas, as London urged Brussels to give ground to avoid a damaging “no-deal” at the end of the year.

Both sides have pinpointed a European summit on October 15 as the latest agreement could be reached for it to be ratified in time for it take effect at the end of December.

But the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier and his UK counterpart David Frost complained of a continued gulf between the two sides in crucial areas such as competition rules and fishing rights.

After the ninth round of talks in the tortuous process broke up in Brussels, with renewed commitments to find a way out of the impasse, there was clear acknowledgement the clock was ticking.

“To reach an agreement, these divergences must necessarily be overcome over the next weeks,” said Barnier.

Despite indicating there were signs of agreement in a number of areas, Frost warned disagreements over competition rules and fishing may be “impossible” to overcome without the EU giving ground.

“I am concerned that there is very little time now to resolve these issues ahead of the European Council on October 15,” he said.

Next steps may be determined on Saturday in a video conference between European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen and Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Johnson — a key figure in the lengthy and divisive process to take Britain out of the bloc — said it was up to Brussels to agree to terms to unblock a deal.

“It’s all there, it’s just up to them,” he told the BBC, urging the EU to bow to common sense.

UK and EU officials said the two leaders would take stock of progress made in the latest round of talks even as von der Leyen again warned against a deal “at any price”.

UK looks to EU to break Brexit talks impasse

Angela Merkel said at the end of the summit that she believed a deal was still possible, though she added that the next days would be crucial © POOL/AFP / Francisco Seco

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