Hopes for a post-Brexit trade deal faded tonight as Britain accused the EU of putting new demands on the negotiating table at the last minute.
With the clock ticking for an agreement before Britain severed ties with the bloc on December 31, talks in London get to the point.
You seem to have gotten bogged down tonight after a sandwich meet between the two teams, led by Lord Frost and Michel Barnier, ended in a standoff.
A senior UK government source pointed a finger at Brussels and said: “In the eleventh hour, the EU is bringing new elements to the negotiations.
"A breakthrough is still possible in the next few days, but that prospect is diminishing."
State aid rules and access for European fishermen to UK waters were the main problems that prevented an agreement.
If no business is brokered before the end of the transition period, the UK will start trading with the EU on World Trade Organization terms, which means the establishment of customs barriers.
Talks appear to have stalled tonight after a sandwich meeting between the two teams, led by Lord Frost and Michel Barnier, ended in a standoff
What are the main issues with the post-Brexit trade talks?
There are three main areas where the UK and the EU have failed to reach an agreement.
These are fishing rights after Brexit, the so-called “level playing field” for rules and future governance of the agreement.
Fishing rights: Britain will become an independent coastal state on January 1st, when the transition period ends. This means it will have control of its waters, giving priority to British fishermen. The EU wants to give its trawlers access to UK waters, but the two sides have been unable to agree on the details. In simple terms, the EU wants to keep more fish from the UK than the UK is willing to allow. Fishing is seen as the main obstacle to a deal by the UK.
The "level playing field": The EU wants the UK to agree to closely follow the rules on state aid and workers' rights enacted in Brussels in the future in order to prevent UK companies from having an unfair advantage over their competitors on the continent. The UK doesn't want to be too tightly bound by EU rules as it sees the freedom to act unilaterally on such issues as one of the main benefits of Brexit.
Governance of the deal: The two sides endeavor to agree how the terms of the trade agreement will be enforced if either party fails to meet its obligations. Much of the disagreement concerns the role of the European Court of Justice.
Relations could deteriorate further next week if Boris Johnson pushes legislation that allows ministers to tear up the divorce treaty he signed with Brussels last year.
MEPs will vote on the UK's Single Market Act on Monday, giving ministers the power to violate international law by ignoring the provisions of the Northern Ireland Readmission Agreement.
The EU has already taken the first steps in a legal battle over legislation.
The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "We were aware that these clauses provide a legal safety net to protect the integrity of the UK's internal market and the enormous gains from the peace process."
The government will also introduce the Post-Transition Period Tax Act, which reportedly includes measures to repeal parts of the divorce deal that the Prime Minister and the EU signed in 2019.
The tax law contains "measures that are necessary to prepare for the end of the transition period".
Mr Barnier said yesterday that the talks were reaching a "make or break moment" with the possibility that an agreement could be reached tonight or tomorrow.
Today's deadlock comes after Mr Barnier said yesterday that the talks are reaching a "make-or-break" moment.
Yesterday a tower of pizza boxes was delivered to the Ministry of Economy, Energy and Industrial Strategy where the discussions are taking place.
This afternoon negotiators switched their order to sandwiches as they continue to try to break the impasse on crisis issues.
In an attempt to break the impasse, Barnier said Boris Johnson lowered his demands by asking to get back only 60 percent of the fish EU boats currently catch in UK waters from 80 percent.
At the same time, the EU has signaled that it will comply with the Prime Minister's request to negotiate annual fishing quotas, as Brussels does with Norway.
Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said this morning that he believed there was a "good chance we will get a deal across the line in the next few days" as he warned there would be "no extra time".
Downing Street said at lunchtime that "intense" talks were ongoing and the two sides "continue to work hard to resolve remaining differences".
A large stack of takeaway pizzas was delivered to negotiators last night in the growing hope that a UK-EU trade deal would be reached after Brexit
Michel Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator, said yesterday that the talks were reaching a "make-or-break moment".
British officials said to Politico this morning, "We are still going" and it is "still not clear if we will get there" but optimism is growing that a deal may be near now.
During yesterday's video conference with European diplomats and MPs, Barnier said there was still no guarantee that a trade deal would be struck.
"I honestly don't know if we can reach an agreement," said the senior European Commission official.
& # 39; We are quickly approaching a moment of interruption in the Brexit talks. The next hours and days will be decisive. & # 39;
Downing Street said last night that Mr Johnson remains "optimistic" that the UK can reach a post-Brexit trade deal with Brussels.
His spokesman Allegra Stratton added: “Talks are ongoing and he has great confidence in David Frost (the UK negotiator) and the team.
& # 39; He's optimistic, but he's also always said he's confident and satisfied that we'd be fine without a deal.
"If a deal is struck, that's a good thing, but he's also confident that we can act on the terms he calls Australia."
Failure to negotiate and implement a trade deal before the end of the post-Brexit transition would force the EU and UK to act on basic World Trade Organization terms from January 1, which would mean tariffs on goods .
EU diplomats admitted last night that even if both sides manage to reach an agreement, the ratification process may not be easy, with the possibility that individual Member States could still try to block it.
"We have to find a compromise where the UK can say they won and the EU can say they haven't lost," a source close to the talks said.
Boris Johnson is said to have lowered his post-Brexit fishing rights demands to break the impasse
Lines on access to British waters have been one of the main remaining stumbling blocks in the negotiations over the past few weeks.
Currently, the Common Fisheries Policy dictates how much UK fishermen can catch where and fishermen have often complained that they are not getting a fair share of what is caught in UK waters.
According to EU sources, Barnier is now calling for 60 percent of the fish currently caught from European boats, according to Downing Street, compared to 80 percent previously. So far, the EU has offered the repatriation of around 15 to 18 percent of the catches.
Fishing accounts for just 0.12 percent of UK GDP but is seen as extremely symbolic in the Brexit talks.
British fishermen claim their industries were sacrificed to secure the country's place in the European Economic Community in 1973.
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