Post-Brexit trade talks between negotiators from the UK and the European Union (EU) will resume on Monday in an effort to reach an agreement on a deal before the transition period expires on December 31.
The resumption will come a day after EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and his UK counterpart David Frost met in Brussels on Sunday, but key issues remained unresolved, reports the BBC.
Following his meeting with Frost, Barnier said the negotiations were at a “crucial moment”, but any agreement must be “balanced and reciprocal”.
“We respect the sovereignty of the UK and we expect the same. Both the EU and Britain must have the right to set their own laws and control their own waters.
“And we should both be able to act when our interests are at stake,” he tweeted.
David McAllister, a German MEP and chairman of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, said the European Parliament will not be in a position to grant consent to an agreement this year, as a deal was not reached by midnight on Sunday.
“After intensive negotiations this week, there is still no clarity whether an agreement for the future UK-EU relations will be reached or not,” he tweeted on Sunday night.
The MEP said an extraordinary meeting will be convened on Monday morning to discuss next steps.
Meanwhile, a UK government source told the BBC that the EU was “still struggling to get the flexibility needed from member states to make a deal possible”.
The UK officially exited the EU on January 31 and will leave the bloc’s single market and customs union at the end of this month, as the transition period will end on December 31.
The two sides had previously said significant differences still remain between the two sides on three critical issues: level playing field, governance and fisheries.
Latest reports suggested that fishing rights remains the last major sticking point between the two sides.
Failure to reach a free trade agreement means bilateral trade will fall back on World Trade Organization rules in 2021.