Brussels has finally submitted on its Brexit demands ahead of the final round of talks between the two sides this week as the EU is now ready to drop its demands on agreeing on a broad agreement on the areas of divergence before drafting a trade text.
The EU’s lead negotiator, Michel Barnier, had initially refused to take this position and was intent on agreeing on many of the issues before going forward. But Mr Barnier has now confirmed his intention to start working on the draft legislation in a sign Brussels wants a deal at all cost and soon.
Brussels has also dropped its threat to suspend trade talks amid the tension caused by the UK’s Internal Market Bill. But the issue of fishing and the level-playing field will be extended to allow Mr Barnier and his counterpart, Lord David Frost, more time to meet each other at a good point.
Following the EU’s current submission, the UK is now expected to negotiate on more detailed elements such as fishing quotas in return. This week’s talks between the UK and the EU will serve as a foundation for a deal to stand on by next month.
“The most important thing is that we start moving forward on negotiations over texts so we can get further forward and not get timed out. That is a good aim,” one British source said while adding that “the two sides still remain far apart on some issues.”
Brussels think-tank, EU Council President Charles Michel also claimed progress had been made in talks during a session while noting that the talks had progressed slowly, he recalled that the UK officials had said a deal is still possible.
Speaking on the possibility of a deal he said, “Sentiments about the prospects of reaching a Brexit deal have veered wildly. The reality is a bit less excitable and a bit less predictable. The Brexit talks have been making steady if unspectacular, progress. Lord Frost and those around him say a deal is possible but warn that time is now the biggest obstacle.”
Mr Michel also pointed to a green light in order to ease fears by saying that a deal must be reached by the EU summit by October 15, though admitted that substantial progress must be made by the end of the month.
“The UK side hope to show enough progress by October 15 to give the talks more time to get a deal over the line. However if by the end of October, the two sides are still some way apart it is hard to see how an agreement can be finalised in time,” he concluded.
Before the last round of negotiations today, Cabinet Office minister, Michael Gove, travelled to Brussels to meet with European Commission vice-president, Maros Sefcovic on Monday as a move to give fresh strength to the last round of talks.
Meanwhile, Mr Sefcovic has said any lack of a deal would be down to the UK.
“I think it’s very important to say, to underline, that it could never be the EU which would cause the end of the negotiation of the future partnership between the EU and UK. We are going to proceed with the negotiations. We are going to use every single minute,” he said.