A week of intense trade talks between Britain and the European Union reaches a stalemate.
Brexit trade talks between the UK and the EU have been put on hold after the two sides said “conditions for an agreement are not met”.
The bloc’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier said he and Downing Street’s David Frost had agreed to “pause” talks on a deal while they brief their principals on the state of play of the negotiations.
In a joint statement, Lord Frost and Mr Barnier said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Prime Minister Boris Johnson would “discuss the state of play” on Saturday afternoon.
It comes after a week of intense negotiations in London, with late night sessions fuelled by deliveries of sandwiches and pizza.
Lord Frost and Mr Barnier blamed the break-down in talks on “significant divergences on level playing field, governance, and fisheries”.
The level playing field refers to state subsidies and standards.
The EU fears that Britain could become a low-regulation economic rival, cutting standards and heavily subsidising its industries.
Britain, where Brexit was promoted as “taking back control” from Brussels, wants the freedom to set its future economic policies.
The fishing industry is another obstacle – it is a small part of the European economy but is very important to nations such as France.
The EU wants to continue to fish in British waters but Britain wants to control access and quotas.
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