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August 18, 2022
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EU insists November 19 is the final deadline for agreeing a Brexit trade accord with the UK

Diplomats in Brussels today warned an EU summit on November 19 will be the final deadline to agree a post-Brexit trade deal with the UK.

Talks remain deadlocked on a number of key issues and figures on both sides believe the negotiations are likely to go down to the wire.

The EU is likely to need approximately six weeks to ratify and implement any deal and with the end of the ‘standstill’ transition period in December ticking closer, the discussions are now entering a decisive phase.

Diplomats said if there isn’t a deal in place by Thursday next week then ‘time is up’ and Britain and Brussels will split at the end of the year without a trade accord.

The emergence of the new deadline came as Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said he believed ‘we are more likely to get a deal than not’.

However, he also warned it is still ‘quite possible that this could fall apart’, a result which he said would result in ‘real problems’ for both sides.

The heads of the EU’s 27 member states are due to convene for a video conference on the bloc’s coronavirus response on November 19.

But that summit is now viewed by many in Brussels as a crunch point in the trade talks.

A senior EU diplomat told The Guardian: ‘If there isn’t good news by then, then you really have to say that time is up – it just isn’t possible.

‘The leaders will need to see that it is there.’

Mr Coveney said today the ‘barriers to progress are well understood’ and the two sides are still a ‘long way apart’ on post-Brexit fishing rights as well as on the so-called ‘level playing field’ on rules and fair competition.

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