Brexit trade talks thrown into chaos after EU misunderstands Boris Johnson’s key demand

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The ninth round of trade deal negotiations between the UK and EU will start this week. Time is running out for a deal to be reached by the Prime Minister’s deadline of October 15, when the UK could “walk away” from the crumbling talks. But RTE’s Europe Editor Tony Connelly has warned Brussels could further hinder Mr Johnson’s plan because the bloc thinks his deadline is a few weeks later.

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He said: “Brussels believes the deadline is the end of October, not the deadline that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has set, which is when EU leaders will meet for a summit.”

He added the EU also believes the UK has not made reasonable concessions over state aid and fishing arrangements.

The bloc is also still concerned about the controversial Northern Ireland border protocol after the transition period ends on January 1.

He said: “The EU believes the UK has still not made sufficient concessions on the so-called level playing field, including the question of state aid, and fisheries.

“The European Commission is expected to push the UK for more details on the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol, which is supposed to come into effect on January 1.

“Brussels is concerned that the construction of Border Control Posts, required by the Protocol, has not yet started.

“London, however, wants the EU side to commit to simplifying some of the checks and controls the Protocol requires on goods moving from Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and in the other direction.”

Michael Gove will meet European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic to discuss the future arrangements between the UK and EU this week.

An EU spokesman admitted their chief negotiator Michel Barnier was still determined to reach a deal despite concerns.

David Frost, the UK’s chief negotiator, added a deal was “very much possible, but equally very far from certain”.

He said recent talks had only been “relatively positive”.

Mr Frost said: “The EU still needs to scale back more of its unrealistic ambitions and work on more realistic policy positions.

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“I hope this will be possible this coming week.

“I and my team are ready to work as hard as necessary to move things forward.”

One particular aspect that is stalling the talks is the UK wanting long-term fishing rights to come under a system called “zonal attachment”.

This has sparked outrage from the bloc as it would dramatically cut the European catch.

One diplomat said: “It’s hard to imagine any compromise based on zonal attachment.

“Fishing communities would probably sooner opt for no-deal.”

Brussels also wants to write state aid principles directly into the trade deal.

An EU official said: “The real question is can this round provide enough progress across the board, including on the most contentious files, to allow the intensive work of the final stretch to properly begin.”

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