UK seeks EU Brexit shift… as Michel Barnier cracks jokes: British team accuses European negotiators of failing to make progress in trade talks
- Officials are working to new deadline of next Thursday to achieve breakthrough
- Figures involved in the talks are growing increasingly pessimistic about deal
- Ireland has warned failure to reach a deal could be ‘very damaging’ to country
Officials are working to a new deadline of next Thursday to achieve a breakthrough before a virtual summit of EU leaders.
But figures involved in the talks were increasingly pessimistic as they warned little had been achieved this week, including no movement on the key sticking point of fishing.
Ireland’s leader Micheal Martin warned failure to reach a deal could be ‘very damaging’ to his country and Britain.
British negotiators last night accused the European Union of failing to make progress in trade talks – as Michel Barnier (pictured) cracked jokes on Twitter
Discussions should continue next week but time is running out for an agreement to be ratified by the end of the year, when transition arrangements expire.
EU chief negotiator Mr Barnier said negotiations were an ‘ongoing process’, before adding: ‘Patience.’
He then bizarrely tweeted a picture of himself overlooking football fields in a London park with a jokey reference to the Brussels demand for a ‘level playing field’ on state subsidies between the EU and UK.
Ireland’s leader Micheal Martin (pictured) warned failure to reach a deal could be ‘very damaging’ to his country and Britain
Mr Barnier wrote: ‘Short break from intense negotiations in London. Went looking for level playing fields…’
Michael Gove, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, said Britain needed to see ‘movement on the EU side’.
Downing Street said ‘significant gaps’ remain between the sides and ‘time is in short supply’.