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Michel Barnier warns diplomats that Brexit talks are in 'state of paralysis'

2 min read

The Brexit negotiations between the UK and EU are in "a state of paralysis", according to Brussels' chief negotiator.

Michel Barnier spoke out following six hours of talks with his British counterpart, David Frost.

He told EU diplomats that the UK had failed to come up with fresh suggestions on how to replace the Irish backstop.

In a diplomatic note leaked to the Financial Times, the EU’s chief negotiator said: “We are currently in a state of paralysis.”

According to the paper, Mr Barnier also told diplomats from EU member states that Britain was determined to diverge from the bloc’s regulatory standards in any future trade deal.

But Mr Barnier warned colleagues that any trade deal where the UK holds a competitive edge over European capitals such as Paris would be difficult to pass.

The note added: “There could be problems to ratify a Free Trade Agreement …unless this is balanced.

“Overall, the ambition in the political declaration is being reduced.”

Meanwhile, one EU diplomat told the paper that Brussels was prepared to give the UK another Brexit extension if the Prime Minister is forced by Parliament to seek one.

They said: “There is absolutely no appetite in the EU to throw Britain off the Brexit cliff edge.

“If the UK parliament were to ask for an extension to prevent a no-deal outcome, it would be hard to see how the EU27 could refuse that.”

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