Barnier Says 'Deadlock' Reached as Brexit Cliff Inches Closer

Barnier Says 'Deadlock' Reached as Brexit Cliff Inches Closer

Barnier Says 'Deadlock' Reached as Brexit Cliff Inches Closer

The EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier warned that very little progress had been made. "We have reached a deadlock", Mr Barnier told reporters in Brussels at the end of the fifth round of talks.

European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said Thursday (12 October) that the fifth round of talks with the United Kingdom ended in a "deadlock" over the divorce bill and that he would not propose to European Union leaders next week to move talks onto the trade phase.

"We've reached a state of deadlock which is very disturbing for thousands of project promoters and taxpayers", he said, referring to the projects that depend on European Union funding and the taxpayers who foot the bill for that budget.

"(We) also want to ensure that we get onto that business of talking about the future relationship, the future partnership we're going to have with the EU.

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"The UK repeated that it was still not ready to spell out these commitments", Barnier said.

Nonetheless, Mr Barnier told a news conference, there was some movement on other elements of Britain's divorce settlement and he spoke of possibly acceding in the next two months to British demands for talks on a trade pact and a transition period after withdrawal in March 2019 - if the political will was there.

Mr Barnier's comments, which appear to be as much aimed at EU27 leaders as Britain, came after his counterpart made his most open plea yet for the bloc to alter its negotiating stance.

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Both sides have now given up on the United Kingdom making "sufficient progress" to move to trade talks by the European Council summit in October, with Mr Barnier suggesting the milestone could be reached by December with constructive effort on both sides.

Mr Barnier made clear, however, that despite new momentum from concessions given by May in a speech at Florence on Sept 22, the British positions on money, expatriate citizens' rights and the Irish border still fell short of the "significant progress " set as a condition for opening the trade negotiations.

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