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The Brussels diplomat announced he will travel to London for face-to-face talks with his UK counterpart Lord Frost this evening. In a private meeting of EU27 ambassadors, Mr Barnier admitted he was uncertain whether he will be able to clinch a deal because of disputes over post-Brexit fishing rights and common standards. EU sources said their negotiator “wasn’t particularly optimistic” over the chances of securing a deal.
“Barnier said a deal remains difficult,” one insider said.
And Mr Barnier said: “The same significant divergences persist.
“Travelling to London this evening to continue EU-UK talks with David Frost and team.”
Mr Barnier has claimed Downing Street is still not willing to drop its demands for full control over UK coastal waters and a huge quota boost for the country’s fishermen.
He believes the EU must compromise on its hardline demands in order to convince No10 to commit to tough competition rules.
One EU diplomat said the stand-off over fisheries and state aid rules meant the talks are “completely stuck”.
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