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Britain, the world’s sixth-biggest economy, left the EU in January and has since been locked in painstaking talks with the the Union. EU leaders will hold a summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday to assess progress after Mr Johnson set a deadline for October 15 for a deal to be reached before the transition period ends on December 31.
But pressure is mounting after the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said the two sides are yet to make a significant breakthrough throwing doubt over whether Mr Johnson’s looming deadline will be met.
The Prime Minister will speak to the president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen this afternoon as his deadline for progress in post-Brexit trade talks draws near.
But Express.co.uk understands Mr Barnier and the UK’s chief Brexit negotiator David First will actually announce a “deal in principle or a pathway to a deal” instead on Thursday and will continue with talks until a legal text is drafted.
November 3 could be the final day when the legal text is ready for ratification.
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7.40am update: Prepare for no deal Brexit! EU panics as Boris holds firm on fishing – LEAKED STATEMENT
The European Union will ramp up its preparations for a no-deal Brexit after insufficient progress was made in the trade talks ahead of a crunch summit of the bloc’s leaders.
In leaked European Council conclusions, capitals will say there is a “concern that progress on the key issues of interest to the Union is still not sufficient for an agreement to be reached”.
In a draft version of an EU leadership statement, they say: “The European Council reaffirmed the Union’s determination to have as close as possible a partnership with the United Kingdom on the basis of the negotiating directives of February 29, 2020.
“Against this background, the European Council invited the Union’s chief negotiator to intensify negotiations with the aim of ensuring that an agreement can be applied from January 1, 2021.”
7.37am update: EU ready for no deal Brexit
The Commissioner for the EU’s single market, Thierry Breton, said the EU would prefer to have a Brexit deal, but it is ready in case no agreement can be reached.
Mr Breton told BFM business radio: “We prefer a deal but not at any price and if there is no deal, we are ready.
“Our customs are ready for a no-deal and it is urgent that British customs also prepare for it.”
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