Michel Barnier comes to the Brexit talks: The EU chief negotiator will hold an emergency meeting with British counterpart David Frost, warning that they only have one month to close a deal
- "Informal" discussions are expected to focus on state aid rules and fishing rights
- The EU wants guarantees that Britain will not undercut its own industries
- France accused Britain of deliberately suspending trade negotiations after Brexit
Boris Johnson's chief negotiator for Brexit will have emergency talks with his EU counterpart today, warning that there is only one month left to reach an agreement.
EU negotiator Michel Barnier will travel to London for the unscheduled talks with David Frost in order to overcome the impasse.
The “informal” discussions are likely to focus on state aid rules and fishing rights, the two issues that have emerged as the main obstacles to an agreement.
Formal negotiations will resume next week.
EU negotiator Michel Barnier (right) will travel to London for the unscheduled talks with David Frost (left) in order to overcome the impasse
A Whitehall source said that while the UK's transition period from the EU won't end until the end of the year, there is "realistically only one month" to reach a deal in time for ratification.
Both sides have grown increasingly bleak about the prospect of a deal in recent weeks after hopes of a summer break through faded.
France yesterday accused Britain of deliberately stalling post-Brexit trade deal negotiations and of having unreasonable expectations.
Speaking to his nation's ambassadors, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said: "The negotiations are not moving forward because of the UK's intransigent and unrealistic stance."
However, UK sources said the deadlock was due to the EU's intransigence.
"You don't seem ready to get involved in any of the big things," said one.
Talks on fishing rights and state aid rules are currently stalling.
The Prime Minister has said that from the end of this year the UK will work with other independent coastal states to determine access for foreign trawlers in British waters.
However, the EU demands that its fishing fleet continue to have its existing access rights indefinitely.
Brussels is also demanding details of the UK's state aid system – the rules for bailing out firms and sectors in difficulty – before moving on to other areas of negotiation.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson (pictured) has stated that the UK will set access for foreign trawlers in UK waters from the end of this year
The EU wants guarantees that Britain will not undercut its own industries.
However, UK ministers insist that as an independent country the UK should be free to determine its own industrial policy.
Mr Le Drian insisted yesterday that the 27-strong bloc would not give in under pressure from London, adding: “On Brexit, we have always shown unity and proven wrong those who saw signs of a general implosion in Europe.
"If we stay in agreement, we can stick to our line of global agreement."
However, UK ministers are also confident Mr Johnson will not give in, which increases the prospect of a no-trade deal by the end of this year unless negotiators can achieve a sudden breakthrough.
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