BBC’s Katya Adler warns it could be ‘game over’ for Brexit – EU’s stance may cause no deal

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Talks concluded this week with the areas of divergence still remaining, although EU officials have insisted 95 percent of any trade deal has been agreed. Despite the claims from EU officials, Adler referenced the Brussels’ previous claim that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”. In this light, if the areas of divergence remain between the two sides, a no deal Brexit is still likely.

She said: “For all talk of 95 percent of deal being agreed, gaps remain on key outstanding issues: fish, competition regulations and governance of the deal.

“Since mantra of talks Is, ‘nothing is agreed till everything is agreed’ this means if the five percent left isn’t successfully negotiated, then game over.”

Although EU officials claimed a large part of the free trade deal has been agreed, the areas of divergence, fisheries, state aid and the dispute mechanism, still remain.

Indeed, with those issues still remaining, officials in Brussels are increasingly fearful the two sides will fail to agree a deal in time.

Speaking on behalf of Michel Barnier, the European Commission’s Secretary-General Ilze Juhansone, said legal texts on most of the agreement had been finalised.

She did however, said: “On the areas of divergence, the UK has not made significant moves.”

On fisheries, the UK wants an agreement similar to the treaty signed with Norway.

Under this annual negotiations are held on access and quotas.

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In response, the EU has instead tabled a proposal whereby negotiations on quotas would take place in ten years’ time.

The EU also wants the UK to agree to a level playing field on state aid, while also forcing the UK into adhering to its environmental and labour standards.

Now an independent nation, the UK has insisted by doing this, it would violate the purpose of Brexit – to regain sovereignty.

EU Commission President said following talks: “Within the frame of the level playing field, progress, for example, has been made on the question of state aid, but there are still quite some metres to the finish line so there’s still a lot of work to do.

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“Where the timelines are concerned, time pressure is high without any question at the moment.

“There’s a lot to work on, because there is now substance where you can go through line by line, word for word.

“The whole team is engaged and working tirelessly day and night to reach the natural deadline we have to be done by the end of the year.”

Talks will now take place next week virtually after Mr Barnier was forced to self-isolate after an EU official tested positive for coronavirus.

It is though negotiations must culminate in a deal by November in order to give Brussels enough time to complete the ratification process.

A UK official said: “Although there has been some progress in recent days, there is much work to be done and time is now very short.

“We now need to see more realism from the EU on what it means for the UK to be an independent state.”

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