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  • BBC

Brexit: Trade talks with the EU are over, says No 10

Talks between the UK and EU over a post-Brexit trade agreement are "over", Downing Street has said.

No 10 said there was "no point" in discussions continuing next week unless the EU was prepared to discuss the detailed legal text of a partnership.

UK chief negotiator Lord Frost said he had told EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier there was no "basis" for planned talks on Monday.

Number 10 said the two sides had agreed to talk again, by phone, next week.

Earlier, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted that the Brussels negotiating team would go to London after the weekend to "intensify" talks.

But Downing Street said there had to be "a fundamental change in the EU's approach to these negotiations".

The prime minister had set this week as the deadline for the two sides to agree a deal, but there are still major disagreements over fishing rights and state help for businesses.

And the UK government appeared to harden up its message to the EU over the course of Friday.

In the morning, Boris Johnson said the country had to "get ready" to trade next year without an agreement, although he did not say the talks were over.

He suggested the EU was unwilling to consider seriously the UK's preferred option of a comprehensive free trade agreement based on the bloc's existing arrangement with Canada.

The UK, he added, must look at the "alternative" - which he suggested was Australia's much-more limited set of agreements with the EU.

"The talks are over."

As statements go, those four words from the prime minister's spokesman this afternoon were something of a bombshell.

But Michel Barnier, who's due to come to London next week to continue talks, might not be unpacking his briefcase just yet.

There's no doubt that Downing Street is sending the clearest signal possible that it expects the EU to make the next move in these negotiations.

And the rhetoric accompanying the talks has reached a new level.

But both sides still want a deal, the process has not broken down and there is still time to reach an agreement.

It's one thing to declare the talks over; it's another thing to refuse to continue talking.




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