Chief EU Brexit negotiator Barnier says talks nearing ‘make-or-break’ point

FILE - In this Friday, Dec. 8, 2017 file photo, the British and EU flags flap in the wind outside EU headquarters in Brussels. The U.K. indicated Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020, that it was prepared to break an international agreement as post-Brexit trade discussions with the European Union resumed on an increasingly acrimonious tone. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, File)

Chief EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier warned Wednesday he could not guarantee he would strike a trade deal with Britain, diplomats said, and the next few days will be crucial. 

“We are quickly approaching a make-or-break moment in the Brexit talks,” Barnier told a video meeting of European envoys, a diplomat said, in an account of the video meeting confirmed by other sources.

“Intensive negotiations are continuing in London, but as of this morning it is still unclear whether negotiators can bridge the gaps on issues like level playing field, governance and fisheries,” Barnier said.

One senior EU diplomat said several member states would rather see negotiations, which have been stuck for months, continue past the end of Britain’s transition phase on December 31 even if that means there is a brief “no deal” period.

“There is a worry that because of this pressure of time there is a temptation to rush,” the diplomat said after the Barnier’s briefing. “We told him: don’t do that.”

France 24

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