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Brexit trade talks paused after 'conditions not met' for agreement

The conditions for a post-Brexit trade agreement have not been met during high stake talks betwee...
Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

19.57 4 Dec 2020


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Brexit trade talks paused afte...

Brexit trade talks paused after 'conditions not met' for agreement

Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

19.57 4 Dec 2020


Share this article


The conditions for a post-Brexit trade agreement have not been met during high stake talks between the EU and the UK, Michel Barnier has said.

The EU's chief negotiator tweeted that after a week of "intense negotiations in London" with his British counterpart David Frost, "significant divergences" remain on the level playing field, governance and fisheries.

He said this evening that they had agreed to pause the talks, while EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and UK Prime Minister Johnson will discuss "the state of play" tomorrow afternoon.

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Earlier, the talks were said to be in a "critical phase", with "time in very short supply".

With time running out for the implementation of any deal before the January 1st deadline, the Irish government still expects an agreement to be reached at the last minute.

Speaking this afternoon, the Taoiseach Micheál Martin said: "27 member states cant negotiate collectively, we've appointed a negotiating team, we've got to allow them space now to conclude these talks and hopefully achieve an agreement out of this."

Meanwhile, the former Ambassador to the EU and the UK, Bobby McDonagh, said he would "disregard" what has been said by UK sources in the past 24 hours about the EU adding last-minute issues to the agenda.

The British Government had said during negotiations that the EU came to the table looking for fresh concessions at the 11th hour following pressure from French President Emmanuel Macron.

However, Mr McDonagh told The Hard Shoulder that he shared the optimism of the Taoiseach that a trade deal will be reached.

He said: "I tend to be optimistic for two reasons: First of all, both sides have such an objective interest in getting a deal and secondly because the real deadline is approaching and both sides are still at the table and [Michael] Barnier is staying on tomorrow for further negotiations.

"So that's the way I read it, if there is a deal, it would be a compromise s even though both sides would declare it as a triumph.

"And it will also be a poor deal because of the UK's low level of ambition for the future relationship, but nevertheless it would be vastly better, dramatically better, than having no deal.

Mr McDonagh added that Britain, while proceeding with Brexit, "could have gone for a much closer relationship with the Single Market and the Customs Union".

However, he added that the deal will "provide a basis" for developing the future relationship between the EU and UK.

He said: "I certainly don't believe the nonsense about Britain regaining its freedom or its sovereignty, but it does provide the basis for a better relationship into the future.

"On the contrary, if there was no deal, there would be recrimination and bitterness.

"In terms of Northern Ireland, the irony is that the work in the implementing committee of the Northern Ireland Protocol has been going quite well and hopefully the problems that have been identified can be resolved.

"The Northern Ireland Protocol is binding irrespective of whether there's a deal."

Brexit trade talks paused after 'conditions not met' for agreement

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Main image: Michel Barnier walks to the Conference Centre in London. Credit: AP Photo/Frank Augstein

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Bobby McDonagh Brexit Brexit Trade Deal David Frost EU Michel Barnier Northern Ireland Uk

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