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EU scraps Brexit discussions from upcoming meeting

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The EU has cancelled Brexit discussions at next week’s EU ambassadors meeting, as little progress has been made negotiating Brexit over the summer.

The Coreper II meeting is set to take place on 2 September in Brussels and will gather all Member State’s permanent representatives, or ambassadors, including the UK’s representative.

“Since there hasn’t been any tangible progress in EU-UK negotiations, the Brexit item was taken off the agenda,” one EU diplomat told The Guardian. “If the UK really wanted to jump off the Brexit cliff for ideological reasons, there would be no way for the EU to stop this.”

The decision was made by the German government, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union. Up to this point, Chancellor Angela Merkel was believed to be one of the EU leaders most likely to help finalise a Brexit deal.

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Sandro Gozi, one of the Members of the European Parliament for France chosen to replace British MEPs post-Brexit, stated “every day that passes without concrete progress is a day closer to no-deal Brexit.”

Another EU official told The Guardian that the “mood” is “bleak” in the “EU negotiation team”.

“We have had the whole summer completely wasted, a cabinet that doesn’t understand how the negotiations work, a prime minister who, I think, doesn’t understand how the negotiations work – because he is under the wrong impression that he can pull off negotiating at the 11th hour.”

The deadline for the Brexit negotiations is set in October, before Brexit needs to be finalised on 31 December. Last week, the EU’s chief negotiator, Michael Barnier, said “valuable time” is being wasted. Barnier estimates it is “unlikely” that a post-Brexit deal will be reached by the deadline.

The EU and the UK disagree on several points. The UK would like to regain full control over its fishing waters and limit access for European fishermen. The EU is pressing to ensure fair conditions of competition on the topics of state aid and environmental and social standards. The two parties also remain divided on the point of taxes related to import and export.

Amée Zoutberg
The Brussels Times

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