The European Union’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier said a deal looked “unlikely” and that the two sides remained at a stalemate. Meanwhile, David Frost, the UK’s chief negotiator, “agreement can still be reached in September” but called for the EU to recognise it was in discussions with an “independent state”.
Downing Street now hopes the German Chancellor has time to convince European Union leaders to break the deadlock after playing a significant role in helping to agree the EU’s coronavirus recovery package.
Berlin currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency until December 31 which is expected to play a big role in helping to reach a deal.
Senior UK sources said: “We believe it is eminently possible to find an agreement in September.
“It is definitely possible now with the MFF wrapped up member states will become more engaged in this process in Brussels and get them moving forwards politically.
“The German presidency, obviously, should pay more attention to what’s going on, which I think has got to be helpful.”
But Mr Barnier warned the “time for answers is quickly running out”.
He added: “By its current refusal to commit to the condition of open and fair competition, and to a balanced agreement on fisheries, the UK makes a trade agreement at this point unlikely.”
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8am update: Tributes paid to millionaire Brexit backer
Millionaire Brexit-backer Stuart Wheeler has died aged 85 after a battle with stomach cancer.
The entrepreneur, who made his fortune from setting up a spread betting company, was a generous donor to causes close to his heart.
He gave cash to the Tories, Ukip and the Brexit Party and insisted he wanted nothing in return.
Nigel Farage said he was “very sad” to hear of Mr Wheeler’s death and hailed his contribution to the Brexit cause.
“A brave and honourable man,” he said. “He was my treasurer in Ukip and made a massive contribution to Brexit.”
Mr Wheeler died at his home Chilham Castle in Kent just a month after emailing friends asking them to come and visit despite the lockdown restrictions.
Former Tory MEP Daniel Hannan paid tribute to a “flinty patriot”.