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Brexit panic: UK holds emergency meeting with EU as transition period end date looms

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EU chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, will travel to London for the last minute ‘informal’ talks with his UK counterpart David Frost. The discussions are expected to focus on the two issues which have so far stalled negotiations, fishing rights and state aid rules.

But Mr Barnier has refused to open talks on the UK’s new fisheries proposals until the UK shifts on other issues.

He has urged for “parallelism” – where multiple elements on a range of topics are agreed before moving forward.

A Whitehall source told the Daily Mail that although Britain’s Brexit transition period will end in December, the country has “realistically only a month” to agree a deal in time for it to be ratified.

France has already accused the UK of deliberately stalling negotiations and holding unreasonable expectations.

The French foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, said: “Negotiations are not advancing because of the intransigent and unrealistic attitude of the United Kingdom.”

He also accused the UK’s Brexit negotiating team for having an “uncompromising and unrealistic attitude”.

But sources have said the stalled talks are due to the EU’s stubbornness.

On source said: “They don’t seem to be prepared to move on any of the big things.”

READ MORE: Fishing row erupts: Sturgeon’s furious SNP threatens to scupper Boris

The EU wants Britain to continue to follow rules that prevent the Government from subsidising British companies over EU rivals.

But British ministers have said the UK should be free to set its own industrial policy.

Mr Johnson’s senior aide, Dominic Cummings, thinks that freedom on state aid could be one of Brexit’s main benefits.

Mr Le Drian said the EU will not surrender to the pressure from the UK.

He said: “On Brexit we always showed unity and proved wrong those who saw signs of an overall implosion of Europe.

“It is in staying united that we can stick to our line of a global accord.”

Mr Johnson is confident that British ministers will hold their position and has threatened to leave without a deal.

The UK wanted to have a deal done by the end of July.

Mr Barnier has said an agreement needs to be in place by the end of October in order for it to be ratified around Europe by January.

Formal Brexit negotiations will resume next week.



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