British and EU negotiators are meeting in the Belgian capital following the latest intensive talks in London earlier this week. Lord Frost has remained silent on any progress being made in the crunch negotiations over recent days. This afternoon, Mr Barnier said the EU and UK are “working hard” to conclude a Brexit trade deal.
But he warned “much remains to be done” as the two sides try to strike agreements in a number of areas before the end of the transition period on December 31.
The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator tweeted: “After 7 days of intensive negotiations in London, talks continue with (UK chief negotiator) David Frost and his team in Brussels.
“Working hard for an agreement. Much remains to be done.”
Earlier this week, Downing Street had warned “time is very short” to bridge the “significant” gaps between the two sides.
Brexit latest: Michel Barnier has said gaps still remain between the UK and EU negotiating teams (Image: GETTY / PA)
Major hurdles that have seen both sides refuse to give ground throughout the trade talks still remain.
These include fishing rights and the “level playing field” rules to ensure fair competition and governance arrangements.
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Guy Verhofstadt has suffered a social media backlash after mocking Nigel Farage (Image: GETTY)
9.39pm update: Brexiteer accuses EU of ‘spite’ in passport row
A Brexiteer has accused the EU of being “spiteful” after warned Britons would be unable to use passport fast lanes across Europe when the UK leaves the EU.
The European Commission rejected Britain’s offer to maintain reciprocal access to fast lanes after Brexit meaning UK travellers will have to join long airport queues when they enter an EU country.
British negotiators had asked Brussels to allow other EU countries to continue giving UK passport holders the same level of access they enjoy now despite warnings Brexit would signal the end of frictionless travel.
Guy Verhofstadt has triggered a backlash on social media after he mocked Nigel Farage on Twitter following the former Brexit Party leader’s appearance at a rally in support of US President Donald Trump in Arizona.
Mr Farage spoke at the event earlier this week, describing the 74-year-old Republican as the “single most resilient and bravest person I’ve ever met in my life”.
Mr Verhofstadt, who regularly sparred with Mr Farage when they were members of the European Parliament, posted: “If Farage is Trump’s secret weapon, his campaign must be in real trouble!”
Twitter users were quick the react, with former Brexit Party MEP Belinda De Lucy commenting: “The EU lost one if it’s most powerful, important and successful nations on YOUR WATCH.”
Ursula von der Leyen said ‘good progress’ was being made in trade talks (Image: GETTY)
Labour has overtaken the Conservatives in the polls for the first time since Boris Johnson assumed the party leadership last July.
A new survey by Ipsos MORI showed how public satisfaction with how the Prime Minister is doing his job has dropped to an all-time low since he entered No10.
Six in 10 respondents said they felt unhappy with how Mr Johnson is running the country while only three in 10 said they were dissatisfied with the performance of opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer.
The latest ballot also showed Labour led the Tories by five points in Westminster voting intention, coming in at 42 percent compared to the Conservatives on 37 percent.
5.12pm update: Ursula von der Leyen reports ‘good progress’ in talks.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said trade and security negotiations between the UK and the EU are making good progress in her most optimistic comments to date on the the Brexit talks.
Ms von der Leyen said: “We’re making good progress but there are two critical issues – level playing field and the fisheries – where we would like to see more progress.
“We are in very close contact on an hourly basis because the negotiations now have been intensified.
“There are 11 other fields of files that have to be negotiated.”
Earlier this week a Spanish diplomatic source said any deal aimed at creating a “shared prosperity zone” in Gibraltar was unlikely unless a corresponding trade agreement between the UK and the EU could be struck.
The insider said: “We’ve made our suggestions, explored technical solutions on how to get there.
“What is lacking is the political will to close the deal. The ball is in the United Kingdom’s court.”
But Andrew Rosindell, chairman of the All-Party Group on British Overseas Territories, told Express.co.uk: “Claims that a Spain-Gibraltar deal are being held up by London should be read with much more than a pinch of salt given the bad faith with which Spain has acted on this issue in the past.
“Along with Brussels, Madrid still shows an unwillingness to completely come to terms with Britain’s democratic decision to exit.”
An MP has rejected claims a Spain-Gibraltar deal is being held up in London (Image: GETTY)
Germany is “deeply concerned” about the lack of progress in the Brexit trade talks between the European Union and Britain amid fears the country’s businesses could be cut off from crucial funding.
Deputy finance minister Joerg Kukies said Berlin risks losing access to vital funding provided by the City of London if both sides cannot agree a deal before the end of the year.
The warning came after the wrangling over a post-Brexit future relationship moved to Brussels as part of an intensive phase.
Mr Kukies said: “German corporates, for all that I can tell, rely massively on wholesale financing offered from the City of London, so in that sense we will have to maintain pragmatism, no matter what happens.
“But at the moment we are deeply conceived by the lack of progress in negotiations.”
Britain is being sued by the European Union for having “unjustifiably stricter” rules to prevent the spread of deadly plant diseases.
The European Commission announced it had triggered infringement proceedings against the UK after the country failed to “comply with EU rules on Xylella fastidiosa and Certocytis platani”.
Conservative politicians have previously lashed at at the EU’s insistence that the UK cannot ban plan imports on biosecurity grounds.
In a monthly round-up of EU legal cases, the Commission announced it had “decided today to send a letter of formal notice to the United Kingdom for failing to comply with the EU rules concerning the plant pests Xylella fastidiosa and Certatocystis platani.”
1.30pm update: French minister warns UK ‘we won’t budge on ANYTHING’ amid no deal fears
Brexit trade talks seem set to remain in stalemate after a French Minister warned the UK it would not budge on the country’s demands.
French Minister for European Affairs in Paris, Clement Beaune, sent a stark warning to the UK over Brexit trade talks as he said the EU would stick by its principles.
So far, negotiations have made little progress as Brussels and London stick by their respective demands.
EU negotiator Michel Barnier has warned Prime Minister Boris Johnson that the UK will be denied access to European markets if concessions aren’t made on fisheries and regulation.
As the two sides search for a compromise, Mr Beaune told France 24 news last month: “We want to stick to a very simple principle that we have been repeating.
“Not only Paris, but the EU in general and Michel Barnier the negotiator.
“It’s a sovereign decision from the UK to leave the EU, I don’t think it’s a good decision in my personal opinion, but that’s a democratic choice that we do respect.
“But when you leave you have consequences, you cannot ask for basically full access to the single market and not have what we call a level playing field.”
12.40pm update: Barnier warns ‘much remains to be done’ on trade agreement
The EU and UK are “working hard” to conclude a Brexit trade deal but “much remains to be done”, Michel Barnier has warned.
The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator said in a tweet: “After 7 days of intensive negotiations in London, talks continue with (UK chief negotiator) David Frost and his team in Brussels.
“Working hard for an agreement. Much remains to be done.”
Boris Johnson is set for a showdown next month as peers have brought forward a vote on the controversial UK Internal Market Bill.
Amendments on the UK Internal Market Bill were initially scheduled for the end of next month but a vote will now be held on November 9.
Usually, amendments are voted on towards the end of the process but Lords will now consider them at the committee stage in order to stop the legislation proceeding.
The vote could also have serious consequences for the current Brexit negotiations as Mr Johnson’s legislation is set to be defeated while talks are still ongoing.
The bill has been heavily criticised by peers, with members such as former Tory leader, Lord Michael Howard claiming the legislation would not pass through the Upper House.
9.56am update: Senior German Government official ‘deeply concerned’ over lack of progress in trade talks
Deputy Finance Minister Joerg Kukies said he was “deeply concerned” over the lack of progress in trade talks between the EU and UK given the heavy reliance of German companies on funding in the City of London.
The City of London is still europe’s biggest financial hub but could be largely cut off from the EU when the Brexit transition period ends on December 31.
Britain and the EU remain lockded in talks over a free trade deal, but EU access for financial firms in Britain is being dealt with separately by Brussels.
The Deputy Finance Minister told an online event held by Afore Consulting: “German corporates, for all that I can tell, rely massively on wholesale financing offered from the City of London, so in that sense we will have to maintain pragmatism, no matter what happens.
“But at the moment we are deeply concerned by the lack of progress in the negotiations.”
Brexit latest: Boris Johnson has stood firm on the UK’s Internal Market Bill (Image: GETTY)
9.20am update: Economists optimistic over pound if Brexit deal ratification begins soon
Sterling remains pinned near the $1.29 mark against the dollar as investors await developments around the ongoing Brexit trade deal negotiations.
Just before 9am, the pound was down less than 0.1 percent against the US currency at $1.2920.
The pound has so far been largely unaffected by the ongoing Brexit talks, with some analysys predicting even if a Brexit deal is confirmed, it is unlikely the currency would benefit much.
Marshall Gittler, head of research at BDSwiss, said: “European Council President Michel said they would probably assess the state of the talks next week with Brussels hoping to start the ratification process in mid-November.
“That should be positive for sterling, if indeed it happens.”
Westminster and Holyrood are set for an extraordinary Brexit battle after Nicola Sturgeon’s government threatened to align Scotland’s laws with EU regulations.
The Scottish Parliament has backed a Bill, which would give ministers discretionary powers to match Scottish law and environmental standards with those of the EU, despite the UK preparing to leave the Brussels bloc by the end of the year.
The plot would also see the establishment of the Environmental Standards Scotland (ESS) to replace the EU’s oversight of environmental law – although the government has controversially excluded climate change policy from the body’s remit.
During the debate, Constitution Secretary Mike Russell described the Bill as a “modest measure” to align laws and environmental standards.
Turning to the prospect of a no deal Brexit and the UK’s current negotiations with the EU, Mr Russell added: “The people of Scotland did not choose Brexit, they certainly didn’t choose this sort of disastrous no-deal Brexit, which is still a real possibility.
“Nor did they choose the equally bad low deal, which is the only alternative left on the table.
“That low deal is a painfully thin, job-destroying ideological muddle, which – if imposed in the middle of a global pandemic – the deep recession will cost every one of us dear.
“It beggars belief that any responsible government would even consider it, still less choose it.”
Brexit latest: European fishing dependence on British waters (Image: EXPRESS)