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In Brussels the seventh round of talks between UK chief negotiator David Frost and his EU counterpart Michel Barnier ended without an agreement on Friday. Several outstanding issues remain including trade, fisheries and state aid, ahead of the October deadline to reach an agreement provisionally set by Mr Barnier earlier this week.
The contentious issue on migrants has emerged as another stumbling block in recent days with the UK seeking a new agreement.
A senior UK negotiating official has said a deal has not been reached because there “isn’t agreement inside the EU on this”.
The insider added: “The process block now is the EU’s insistence that we must accept their position on state aid and fisheries before we can talk about anything else. We’re obviously not going to do that.
“We are ready to talk about everything and it’s not us that’s slowing things down.”
Following the talks in the Belgian capital, a frustrated Mr Barnier warned the prospect of a deal being reached before the deadline was “unlikely” and put the blame firmly towards the UK.
The EU chief said: “Too often this week it felt as if we were going backwards more than forwards.
“I simply do not understand why we are wasting valuable time. At this stage, an agreement between the UK and the EU remains unlikely.”
Mr Frost said the EU’s instance on accepting its terms on aid and fishing had made an agreement “unnecessarily difficult”.
The UK negotiator urged the bloc to recognise Britain will take sovereign control of its laws, borders, and waters, as well as a free trade agreement, and called on Brussels to “accept this reality”.
The next round of talks will officially start in London on September 7.
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