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Brexit Talks Put on Hold as Stalemate Deepens (Bloomberg)

UK EU Flags PABLO GARRIGOS/BLOOMBERG VIA GETTY

By Ian Wishart , Nikos Chrysoloras , and Tim Ross
October 14, 2018, 8:14 PM GMT+2 Updated on October 15, 2018, 7:56 AM GMT+2

  • Raab-Barnier meeting ended after an hour in Brussels
  • There is now the risk of a no-deal summit in November

The U.K. and the European Union are on course to miss this week’s key milestone on the road to a Brexit deal after talks broke up in stalemate on Sunday, people familiar with the matter said.

A weekend of intense negotiations — including a surprise dash by Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab to meet his EU counterpart Michel Barnier in Brussels — failed to break the deadlock.

There will be no further attempt to resolve the impasse before EU leaders gather in the Belgian capital on Wednesday for the summit they’d hoped to use to finalize the divorce.

Officials on both sides have now all-but given up on a breakthrough this week, and are increasingly concerned that time is running out to get an agreement before the U.K.’s exit in March, the people said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the talks are confidential.

“Despite intense efforts, some key issues are still open,” Barnier said on Twitter after his hour-long meeting with Raab. For his part, the Brexit secretary left Brussels and traveled back to London without making any comment.

Hopes Dashed

The weekend was meant to be a chance to crack the thorniest issue in talks — what to do with the Irish border — so that leaders meeting for a summit on Wednesday could declare progress and signal that a final deal could be signed in mid-November.

That timetable — which markets have started to price in — has been thrown off and there’s likely to be more talk of how to prepare for a chaotic and acrimonious no-deal split. The pound fell early on Monday.

A key meeting of EU governments scheduled for Monday was canceled and negotiations will likely to be paused for some time, according to EU diplomats.

The major sticking point remains how to avoid the need for a hard customs border at the land frontier between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland after Brexit. One proposal is to keep the U.K. inside the EU’s customs union on a temporary basis, which would mean no new checks on goods passing from Northern Ireland to Ireland would be needed.

Continued on https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-10-14/brexit-talks-stuck-in-stalemate-raising-risk-of-summit-failure?cmpid=BBD101518_BRUS&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_term=181015&utm_campaign=brussels

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