Boris Johnson and the EU have set a Sunday deadline for a “agency choice” on the destiny of their future-relationship negotiations after three hours of “frank” talks in Brussels resulted in impasse and gloom.
A UK authorities official mentioned that “very massive gaps stay between the 2 sides” following a meeting over dinner within the Belgian capital between Mr Johnson and European Fee president Ursula von der Leyen.
The prime minister flew again to London late on Wednesday night time with allies saying that there had not been “a lot of a glimmer of progress” throughout talks on the fee headquarters.
Ms von der Leyen mentioned after the assembly that the 2 leaders had had “a energetic and attention-grabbing dialogue” and “gained a transparent understanding of one another’s positions”, however she acknowledged that “they continue to be far aside”.
“We agreed that the groups ought to instantly reconvene to attempt to resolve these important points,” she mentioned. “We are going to make a decision by the top of the weekend.”
The encounter was billed by either side as an try and unlock talks with barely three weeks left till Britain leaves the only market, however it ended with the prospect of a no-deal Brexit hanging over the negotiations.
The absence of a joint assertion by the 2 leaders and Mr Johnson’s swift departure from the Berlaymont constructing after 11pm on Wednesday urged a bruising encounter. A British official mentioned the talks had been “frank”.
Negotiations are deadlocked over EU calls for meant to protect truthful competitors for companies and over the destiny of EU fishing rights in UK waters.
The 2 leaders had agreed that “by Sunday a agency choice must be taken about the way forward for the talks”, the UK authorities official mentioned. An EU official warned that Sunday could be “crunch time” after what had confirmed to be troublesome talks on Wednesday night time.
The negotiations over the approaching days will happen in Brussels, an EU official confirmed.
“It’s exhausting to see what might occur between now and Sunday to change the equation,” mentioned one EU diplomat. “It appears to be like like we’ve now hit the house stretch with brakes and steering wheel locked.”
Ms von der Leyen will debrief EU leaders on the result of the discussions at a summit assembly in Brussels on Thursday. EU ambassadors may even be given an replace within the morning.
Forward of the dinner, Mr Johnson had tweeted that the UK would “prosper mightily as an unbiased nation” no matter whether or not the talks succeeded or failed. Earlier on Wednesday, he set out his pink traces to the Home of Commons, centred round his acquainted themes of sovereignty and regulatory freedom.
Mr Johnson informed MPs that the EU needed to depart Britain as “the one nation on this planet to not have sovereign management over its personal fishing waters”.
He additionally alleged that Brussels needed to “robotically have the precise to punish us and retaliate” if the UK deviated from future EU guidelines in areas corresponding to labour requirements and environmental coverage.
The query of the right way to provide you with a mechanism that might protect a “degree enjoying discipline” between the EU and UK is a central concern for EU capitals.
German chancellor Angela Merkel warned on Wednesday that Brussels would settle for a no-deal final result if the 2 sides couldn’t work out a method to minimise the chance of unfair competitors between their markets.
An EU official mentioned previous to the dinner that the fee would shortly publish contingency measures to attempt to keep away from chaos ought to the talks collapse. The measures will likely be momentary and canopy fundamental preparations corresponding to the precise for cross-Channel flights to proceed after January 1.
The fee’s choice to deal with their British visitor to a seafood-heavy menu that includes a starter of scallops and a most important course of turbot with mashed potato raised some eyebrows in Brussels, with the 2 sides sparring over the fate of the €650m of fish that EU boats catch in UK waters yearly.
One significantly thorny subject is the destiny of centuries-old EU rights within the waters near the British coast, the place scallops are one of the vital profitable catches. Beneath a no-deal Brexit, scallop exports to the EU could be topic to a 20 per cent tariff.