Brexit: Political willingness needs to be shown says Dutch MEP
Brexit deal deadlines have consistently raised fears of an impending no-deal, as the UK and EU remain far apart on many issues. Boris Johnson and Ursula Von Der Leyen’s dinner last night came as chief negotiators David Frost and Michel Barnier reached an impasse. Ministers had pinned hopes they could break a stalemate which threatened to result in a no-deal Brexit, but they have just pushed talks to another day.
How long have Brexit discussions been extended by?
Mr Johnson and Ms Von Der Leyen failed to refresh talks in Brussels yesterday, as they dined on fish while attempting to settle indecision on fisheries.
Three hours of intense talks yielded little progress beyond a shared “understanding” of each other’s positions, which remain far apart.
In what has become a running feature of the Brexit process, they have opted to extend talks once again.
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The next deadline approaching EU and UK negotiators is Sunday, December 13.
The leaders have given just a few days to settle some “very large gaps”.
The agreed extension would require a Brexit deal, or the UK would have to leave the bloc without one.
In a tweet, Ms Von Der Leyen conveyed a sense of urgency, saying negotiating teams should “reconvene immediately”.
She wrote: “We had a lively and interesting discussion on the state of play on outstanding issues.
“We understand each other’s positions. They remain far apart.
“The teams should immediately reconvene to try to resolve these issues.
“We will come to a decision by the end of the weekend.”
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The news has ignited panic in the UK’s political scene, as politicians brace for a no-deal.
The most vocal critics have spoken out against Mr Johnson, who they state should take full responsibility for an eventual no-deal scenario.
They have drawn on the Prime Minister’s manifesto promise of an “oven-ready deal” as they criticise his apparent inability to finalise negotiations.
But December 13 may end up not being the crunch day everyone thought.
A Downing Street source told Sky News the agreed date would decide on the “future of talks” rather than a deal itself.
They said: “The PM and VDL agreed to further discussions over the next few days between their negotiating teams.
“The PM does not want to leave any route to a possible deal untested.
“The PM and VDL agreed that by Sunday a firm decision should be taken about the future of the talks.”
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