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The Brexit trade talks could completely collapse next week for the last time, just a few weeks before the fast-approaching October deadline for a deal with the European Union. RTE’s London Correspondent Seán Whelan said Downing Street sources believe that next week will be “pretty critical”. He claimed that there will either be a huge breakthrough in the talks, or they could collapse for the final time.
A new round of talks between the two sides will take place next week in London, but both sides have raised concerns on whether a deal can still be reached.
Whelan said: “It sounds pretty pessimistic from the UK side for sure.
“There is a stand-off coming here and I think next week will be pretty critical.
“It might be the week things start to break down.”
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Earlier this week, both Lord David Frost and Mr Barnier admitted that no progress had been made in the talks.
Lord Frost warned that Brussels’ demands on fishing and state subsidies could “limit the progress” made in talks next week.
Europe Editor Tony Connelly added: “People in Brussels are already discounting any major breakthroughs next week.
“They think it will be the first week of October, which will lead up to the October European council summit, when we will see some furniture shifting, if at all.”
There is also concern in Brussels of infighting among the member-states as the October deadline approaches.
This morning it was revealed that the European Union plans to “sideline” its chief negotiator Michel Barnier to crack open the Brexit deadlock.
However, this comes just two days after German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier urged the EU to rally behind Mr Barnier.
The new plan from European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen would see the heads of the 27 remaining member states take over Mr Barnier’s role.
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An EU diplomat told the Telegraph Mrs von der Leyen is expected to “set the scene to sideline Barnier and Frost to find a high level political solution”.
The European Commission president, German chancellor Angela Merkel and President of the European Council Charles Michel “will then lead talks” for the EU.
Contrary to this, Mr Altmaier told trade lawmakers in the European Parliament on Thursday: “It is important that all of us, including Germany as the holder of the Council presidency, support Michel Barnier and his negotiating team.
“And so we will be closing ranks in an act of great European solidarity, also in the last weeks, and nobody should hope that the European Union will quarrel about this question, that it will fall apart, that it will not be united.”
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