EU back down: MEPs ignore own deadline and will ‘take any step’ to secure Brexit deal

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David McAllister, head of the Brexit committee, insisted MEPs would do everything they could to avoid the disruption of a no deal Brexit. He said they are ready to “take any step that minimises disruptions for our citizens and businesses” with the trade and security talks set to drag on. Writing on Twitter, Mr McAllister said: “The EU Parliament has done its utmost to be in a position to grant consent before the end of the transition period and is committed to take any step that minimises disruptions for our citizens and businesses.”

He is set to meet with EU Parliament President David Sassoli to discuss possible alternatives after Brexit negotiators missed a deadline imposed by MEPs to have talks wrapped up yesterday by midnight.

MEPs insisted they wouldn’t vote to ratify the deal this year unless an agreement was reached by that time.

But hardliners claimed they would still stand in the way of the Parliament voting on an agreement at the last minute.

German MEP Bernd Lange, trade committee chair, said: “The EU Parliament went to the extreme limit of what is democratically justifiable to end the uncertainty of people and companies with ratification this year – unfortunately in vain.

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“Still unclear whether there will be an agreement. Now focus on damage control and cushioning.

“A possible agreement will not be finalised until the New Year from EU Parliament can be adopted after thorough examination.

“In this respect, we need interim solutions. An extension of the transition period would be the best. But two for tango are required, and the British side should also agree.”

The European Commission has previously ruled out extending the post-Brexit transition period, due to end on December 31, after the UK and EU missed a deadline to do so.

A spokesman last week said: “That is not legally possible. There was one possibility to extend the transition period and that was if you did so before the month of June.”

Brexit talks between the EU and UK have stalled with Emmanuel Macron said to be refusing to offer concessions to get an agreement over the line.

The French President was said to be in no mood to compromise because he feels that the European Union has already given too much ground in the battle over the totemic issue.

Paris’ stance has left EU Brexit chief Michel Barnier with little room to manoeuvre as his efforts to broker a trade and security treaty with Britain enter the endgame.

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Mr Barnier was said to have made a final offer to guarantee Britain 25 percent of the £590million worth of fish caught by European boats in our coastal waters this year.

The new arrangements would be phased in over seven years, with the ability to slap Britain with punitive tariffs if EU fishermen are locked out of UK waters in the future.

An EU diplomat said Emmanuel Macron would block any future concessions because he feels too much ground on fisheries has already been given.

The insider said: “That’s exactly why I don’t think Macron will budge substantially after already moving around 40 percent on fish already.”

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With Britain rejecting the current EU offer, the diplomat added: “My guess is no deal with the potential of returning for talks after Christmas depending on public opinion in the UK.”

British officials have confirmed the wrangling over the UK-EU trade and security deal will be extended after missing yesterday’s deadline, set by MEPs, to conclude an agreement.

They are said to be reviewing a new fisheries offer by Brussels but fear it raises too many questions.

A senior Government source last night said: “Teams have been negotiating throughout the day and expect to continue tomorrow.

“Talks remain difficult and significant differences remain. We continue to explore every route to a deal that is in line with the fundamental principles we brought into the negotiations.”

There are also fears the row over state subsidies for industry could also still scupper the chances of a deal because of the EU’s “unbalanced” position.

The bloc is understood to be insisting on an exemption for state aid handouts from the European Commission and other EU institutions.

Under the plan, Britain would still be forced to adhere to the rules established in the treaty.

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