EU and UK negotiators will get again to the negotiating desk subsequent week in Brussels, forward of Boris Johnson’s deadline to get a free commerce settlement and avert a no-deal Brexit.
The prime minister had mentioned he desires an settlement secured by the European Council summit on Thursday and Friday of subsequent week, and threatened to stroll away if none is secured – however progress has been scarce to date.
Regardless of some settlement on aspect points like social safety cooperation and human rights, the largest sticking factors – fishing entry and the so-called “degree taking part in subject for rules” – are as far-off as ever.
Downing Avenue mentioned there had been “helpful discussions” in casual talks this week, however the prime minister’s spokesperson emphasised that there have been nonetheless large variations on “essential points”.
It comes amid experiences that Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator has informed member states that whereas a deal is feasible, one is unlikely to be labored out in time for subsequent week’s summit.
The EU has additionally emphasised time stress all through the method, citing the necessity for a number of months to contemplate and ratify any settlement struck.
However the European parliament, the EU establishment most keenly conscious of the time pressures due to its central position in ratification, has mentioned it may work with an settlement that arrived by the top of the month.
That distinction in deadline of two weeks is prone to show essential and will current a window of alternative for a deal.
The Instances experiences that Mr Barnier has informed EU diplomats that negotiations may proceed till the top of the month, fairly than stopping on the finish of this week. The occasion wouldn’t be a shock, given the Brexit course of since 2016 has been characterised by continuously slipping and postponed deadlines.
Mr Barnier visited London on Friday for casual discussions.
“We now have had helpful discussions this week,” the prime minister’s spokesperson informed journalists in Westminster.
“Progress has been made in some areas, nonetheless there nonetheless stays variations on some essential points however we stay dedicated to making an attempt to agree an FTA [free trade agreement].
“We proceed to need an settlement, we proceed to need an FTA however it is necessary that we are able to agree on some points.”
Mr Johnson and European Fee president Ursula von der Leyen agreed final weekend to accentuate talks.
Talking in Dublin on Thursday, the European Council president Charles Michel mentioned it was as much as the UK to place its playing cards on the desk.
“The approaching days are essential, that is the second of reality,” Mr Michel, talking alongside the Irish prime minister Micheál Martin, mentioned.
“I’ve been very clear with Prime Minister Johnson. It’s now for the UK to revive belief and to place all its playing cards on the desk.
“The EU is doing its utmost to seek out an settlement with the UK, however not at any value.”