Economy

Insufficient progress for Brexit deal, say European Union leaders

Insufficient progress for Brexit deal, say European Union leaders”

The prime minister is due to make a statement on the future path of Brexit negotiations later today, according to the UK's chief Brexit negotiator Lord David Frost.

European Union leaders are holding a summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday to assess progress, and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he wants to know by October 15 if a deal can be reached.

The statements were published today by the European Council after the first day of summit talks between EU heads.

Johnson's office said after a video call with EU leaders Charles Michel and Ursula von der Leyen that the prime minister "looked forward to hearing the outcome of the European (Summit) and would reflect before setting out the UK's next steps".

They also noted their "concern" that progress in ongoing UK-EU negotiations was "still not sufficient for an agreement to be reached". "If the right terms can't be found at the end of these discussions, we're ready for a no-deal for our future relations".

Mr Barnier also held out the prospect of a two-week extension to Mr Johnson's 15 October deadline, by adding that his team would travel for London for talks next week and would host negotiations in Brussels the week after.

Fishing rights in United Kingdom waters and rules pertaining to state aid provisions remain the main road blocks to reaching a deal.

But Johnson, frustrated at the slow progress towards a new trade deal, warned on Wednesday that he would decide after the meeting whether to pull the plug on talks.

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"Britain has already imposed so many deadlines that came and went", said Rutte, arguing it was time to concentrate on content instead.

All acknowledge that little progress was made recently on the key issues.

The prime minister will decide whether to end talks following an European Union summit set to take place on Thursday and Friday.

A trade deal has the potential to save hundreds of thousands of jobs and would avoid worsening the economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. Britain says it is baffled it can't get a quick deal with generous free trade concessions like Canada got a few years ago. They want to make sure British firms won't be able to undercut their continental rivals with weaker environmental and social regulation and excessive state subsidies.

France is viewed, especially by Britain, as one of the nations most unwilling to compromise, especially on the issue of French boats' access to British fishing waters.

"Lord Frost has updated the Prime Minister on the latest state of play in the negotiations", a No 10 spokesman said. Britain says it will keep the legislation, with the option to use it if necessary.

The EU had prepared time during this summit for a discussion among the EU's 27 leaders about a trade deal - but a draft deal hasn't been created yet, with wide gaps remaining between the two sides on State aid and fisheries.

European officials brushed off Frost's complaints and insisted they won't persuade the bloc to shift its stance, and several voiced irritation, asking not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the negotiations.



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