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Britain has sought to use Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s deadline of October 15 to hurry the Brussel bloc’s negotiators towards an agreement. The EU is due to asses progress on a deal at an October 15-16 summit.
Despite positive messages from Britain about the possibility of a Brexit deal, Brussels officials have offered a gloomy assessment.
They claimed the UK was “pushing a sense of positivism and momentum, but we just don’t see it”.
An EU official told Politico.eu: “We are seriously questioning their tactic and why they are sending these kinds of messages as there is no deal in sight at all at this point.
“There’s clearly a spin that the UK wants to get out there: a deal is within reach, only fish is still a problem.
“That’s complete nonsense, as a deal on none of the EU’s red lines is nowhere in sight at this stage.”
Another said “things still remain unresolved” as “we don’t see any progress yet” on the “most difficult subjects”.
And after a meeting with Mr Johnson, European Council President Charles Michel tweeted: “The EU prefers a deal, but not at any cost. Time for the UK to put its cards on the table.”
David Frost, the UK’s chief negotiator, told parliament: “The landing zone and the nature of the agreement is pretty clear if not exactly pinned down yet.
“A deal is eminently achievable and could be achieved but equally it is possible that we won’t get there.”
When Mr Johnson’s Brexit supremo, Michael Gove, was asked by a Conservative MP if the probability of a deal was still 66 percent, he replied: “I think that’s about right.”
The UK formally left the EU on January 31, more than three years after it voted 52 percent-48 percent for Brexit in a 2016 referendum.
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