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European Union officials preparing for December Brexit talks to end in failure

BRUSSELS officials are braced for crunch Brexit talks to end in failure next month, according to sources close to the negotiations.

The talks remain deadlocked with Britain refusing to bow to stubborn European Union demands for a £90bn (€100bn) divorce settlement.Theresa May and Brexit Secretary David Davis insist the UK has already offered concessions and says it is now up to the EU to show some flexibility at the negotiating table.

But the view in Brussels is that the UK has to make a bigger offer before the EU will agree to move talks on to the trade deal that Britain wants.

The sources said if the stalemate is not broken by December the EU will wait until next year rather than try to force the issue or move to a Plan B.

Brexit Secretary David DavisGETTY

Brexit Secretary David Davis is hoping for a breakthrough


Theresa May says Britain has made enough compromises


They said a summit, possibly in January or February, could provide a second chance for a breakthrough.Britain is due to sever ties with Brussels in March 2019 with or without a deal.

Business leaders say they will start enacting worst-case scenario plans if no agreement has been reached by early next year on the transition arrangement Mr May hopes will smooth the exit process.

Discussions on transition have not started yet but Brexit Secretary David Davis said he is hopeful of getting a deal done in the first three months of 2018.

Michel BarnierGETTY

Michel Barnier says he needs ‘real and sincere progress


If Mr Davis and his team fail to get a positive decision in mid-December, some leaders have suggested the next opportunity would be March, when the next full summit of EU leaders takes place.But diplomats have pinpointed an extraordinary meeting of leaders in Brussels on February 23 as a chance to give the UK the green light as long as more concessions have been made.

There is also the possibility that an additional summit could be called in January.

Manfred Weber, the leader of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats in the European Parliament, said: “We have no clear readiness from the London side to commit to further compromises and that’s why for the moment we are in a blocked situation.”

Speaking ahead of talks with Mrs May in Downing Street, Mr Weber said it was increasingly unlikely EU leaders will give the green light in December.

Manfred WeberGETTY

Manfred Weber on a visit to Downing Street


After the latest round of talks ended in failure, chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier raised the prospect that the December summit could also be a flop.October was initially touted as the crunch meeting when talks were meant to wrap up on the divorce issues and move on to the future relationship.

But Mr Barnier said he needed “real and sincere progress” on the divorce bill and other separation issues.

He said: “If that is not the case, then we will continue, and that will put back the opening of discussions on the future.”

https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/879966/brexit-latest-european-officials-december-talks-failure

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