Germany newspaper FOCUS has raised doubt over the likelihood of a Brexit deal happening before the new deadline, saying “It’s time to let Brexit Boris finally jump over the cliff!”.
The EU reiterated that a post-Brexit trade agreement between the UK and the European Union must be achieved “in October at the latest” in order for it to be ratified in time.
On Monday, a No 10 spokesman said the Government is still confident a deal can be reached in September, but people are growing increasingly wary.
FOCUS online author Hans-Jürgen Moritz, reporting from Brussels, says the lemmings will likely be “driven over the cliff into the sea” in the next round of talks, adding that the EU should “make them jump”.
“The British have cost us enough nerves”, he said.
“The British have cost us enough nerves”
Part of the reason why the EU should play hardball is that the British negotiating process “was never designed to actually achieve a result” but to “allow so much time pressure to arise that the EU will at some point buckle”.
“This tactic is tiresome, dishonest, and wastes time and resources,” Moritz says, warning that a no-deal Brexit now looks more likely than not – a consequence that will be “uncomfortable for the EU” but “disastrous” for Britain.
Latest round of negotiations
The comments come ahead of the latest round of negotiations between the UK and the EU, which are due to begin on Tuesday evening and continue until Friday.
Asked whether the EU is confident a deal can be achieved in September, an EU Commission spokesman said: “The important thing to note – and I would point you first of all back to what Michel Barnier himself said in London at the end of the last round of negotiations – that, first of all, we want a deal, we want to have an ambitious and fair partnership with the UK, and that we must come to an agreement in October at the latest.”
He added: “This week and over the coming weeks we will remain constructive, we will remain engaged and respectful with the UK negotiating team in order to reach a deal.”
Earlier this week, a No 10 spokesman said UK negotiators “will continue to plug the gaps where any differences remain”.
He added: “There are many issues that will be discussed during this week’s round, not least level playing field, fisheries, trading goods and services, amongst others.”
The trade talks resume amid fears of a deadlock, with both sides admitting after the last round of negotiations in London last month that they remained some way off a trade agreement.
UK has “not shown a willingness to break the deadlock”
After those talks, the EU’s chief negotiator Mr Barnier said a deal looked “at this point unlikely” given the UK position on fishing rights and competition rules.
Mr Barnier said the UK had not shown a “willingness to break the deadlock” on these issues.
He added there was a risk of no deal being achieved unless the UK changed its course on these topics which are “at the heart” of the EU’s trade interests, and that an agreement would be needed by October “at the latest” so it could be ratified before the post-Brexit transition period ends in December.
His UK counterpart David Frost agreed that “considerable gaps” remained in these areas, but argued that a deal was still possible.
The UK has ruled out extending the December deadline to reach a deal.