News ID: 275485
Published: 0254 GMT October 13, 2020

EU pushes UK to budge at 'critical stage' in Brexit talks

EU pushes UK to budge at 'critical stage' in Brexit talks

The EU on Tuesday demanded “substantive” movement from Britain on fisheries, dispute settlement and guarantees of fair competition in their post-Brexit trade talks, which Germany said were at a “critical stage”.

France said the 27-nation bloc must not yield on fishing rights. Ireland – the EU member most exposed to any abrupt economic split at the end of the year – said Britain was running out of time to seal a new trade deal with the bloc, Reuters reported.

Britain, the world’s sixth-biggest economy, left the EU in January and has since been locked in painstaking talks with the world’s largest trading bloc to keep trade flowing freely.

With a year-end deadline nearing to put new arrangements in place, the European affairs minister of Germany – current holder of the bloc’s rotating presidency – said the EU was working hard for a deal – but was also ready to trade from 2021 without an accord to avoid tariffs or quotas.

“We are at a very critical stage in the negotiations and we are extremely under pressure. Time is running out,” Michael Roth told journalists during talks with his 26 fellow EU ministers.

“That’s why we expect substantial progress by our friends in the United Kingdom in key areas.”

The EU-UK negotiation aims to reach a new partnership on everything from trade to transport and nuclear ties from Jan. 1, when London’s post-Brexit standstill transition runs its course. A trillion euros of annual trade are at stake.

Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said: “All of us need to ensure that we do everything we possibly can to make sure that we make a deal possible in the next few weeks because we are running out of time.”

EU leaders will hold a summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday to assess progress, and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also said he wants to know by Oct.15 if a deal can be reached.

“The EU have been using the old playbook in which they thought running down the clock would work against the UK,” said a UK government source.

“We have approached the negotiations constructively and reasonably but time is now extraordinarily short. We need the EU to urgently up the pace and inject some creativity.”



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