Post-Brexit trade talks paused amid continuing ‘significant divergences’ between UK and EU

Luke O'Reilly
·2-min read
<p>The sides will resume talks on Saturday afternoon</p> (AFP via Getty Images)

The sides will resume talks on Saturday afternoon

(AFP via Getty Images)

Post-Brexit trade talks have been paused amid continuing “significant divergences” between UK and EU negotiators on key issues.

In a joint statement, Michel Barnier and Lord Frost said they had suspended discussions while they brief Boris Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen on the state of play.

The two leaders will then discuss the situation in a call on Saturday afternoon.

“After one week of intense negotiation in London, the two chief negotiators agreed today that the conditions for an agreement are not met, due to significant divergences on level playing field, governance and fisheries,” the statement said.

<p>Talks paused on Friday evening</p>AFP via Getty Images

Talks paused on Friday evening

AFP via Getty Images

“On this basis, they agreed to pause the talks in order to brief their principals on the state of play of the negotiations.”

The latest delay to the negotiations comes after Downing Street said they had reached a “very difficult point” in the negotiations.

With time running out for an agreement before the current Brexit transition period ends at the end of the month, UK sources have accused the EU of trying to introduce “new elements” into the negotiations at the 11th hour.

Meanwhile, France’s Europe minister, Clement Beaune, has publicly warned that his country could veto any agreement if it did not satisfy their conditions.

<p>The pair released a joint statement announcing the pause</p>AP

The pair released a joint statement announcing the pause

AP

A No 10 spokesman said: “We are committed to working hard to try and reach an agreement with the EU and the talks are ongoing.

“There are still some issues to overcome. Time is in very short supply and we are at a very difficult point in the talks.

“What is certain is we will not be able to agree a deal that doesn’t respect our fundamental principles on sovereignty, fishing and control.

“Our negotiating team is working extremely hard in order to bridge the gaps that remain.”

After months of circling round the same key issues, their had been hopes that this weekend would be the point when the two sides would finally make the moves needed to get an agreement over the line.

At the same time there had been an expectation that Mr Johnson and Mrs von der Leyen would have to come together to resolve the most problematic issues..

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