European Union negotiators have moved to “within millimetres” of the limits of their negotiating mandate at Brexit trade talks so it is up to London to compromise if a deal is to be reached, an EU diplomat said on Thursday, APA reports citing Reuters.
Some EU envoys said earlier on Thursday that they were hopeful that a deal could be secured in days and a British minister reported “good progress”.
But Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government pushed ahead with two bills that would breach the 2020 Brexit treaty despite protests from Brussels.
One EU envoy later said substantial differences remained at the talks. Johnson’s spokesman said both sides were working hard to bridge the gaps.
Britain leaves the EU’s orbit on Dec. 31, when a transition period of informal membership ends following its official departure last January, and the sides are trying to secure a deal to govern nearly $1 trillion in annual trade.
“We are not hours away from a deal, what we still need to agree is quite substantial,” said the EU diplomat.
“We’ve reached a point where we are so close to the limits of our mandate that we need a movement on the side of the UK if we want to strike a deal.”
Britain has repeatedly said it is up to the EU to compromise.