More work needed on Brexit deal, EU negotiators say

UK

FILE PHOTO: Protesters participate in an anti-Brexit demonstration at City Hall in central Belfast, Northern Ireland October 20, 2018. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – EU negotiators told national envoys on Friday that they need more work yet to close a Brexit deal with Britain, diplomats familiar with the briefing told Reuters.

One described the update on the state of play be members of European Commission negotiator Michel Barnier’s team as “sober” and free of “drama”. “More talks to be had,” summed up another.

Barnier’s deputy Sabine Weyand held further talks with Oliver Robbins, the lead negotiator for British Prime Minister Theresa May during the day.

Both sides have closed in on a deal but remain deadlocked over clauses aimed at avoiding disruption on the Irish border — an issue that is dividing May’s government and jeopardising her ability to get any agreement through the British parliament.

Britain is due to leave the European Union in March, with or without a deal to smooth the process which will separate the world’s fifth biggest economy from its biggest trading partners.

Reporting by Alastair Macdonald, Gabriela Baczynska and Jan Strupczewski; Writing by Alastair Macdonald; Editing by Alison Williams

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