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David Frost will say the bloc’s refusal to discuss wider elements of the free-trade agreement have inflamed tensions between the two sides. The Task Force Europe chief will host Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, in London for urgent talks to get negotiations over the future trade and security relationship back on track. The EU has blocked progress in the post-Brexit talks because of its refusal to budge on demands to secure continued access to British fishing grounds and to tie the Government to swathes of Brussels red tape.
During the pair’s meeting, Mr Frost will insist both sides must begin drafting a legal text if they are to meet the bloc’s October deadline for a deal to be concluded.
EU negotiators must also agree to start work on deciding joint fishing opportunities after the end of the transition period in December, he will add.
British officials are concerned they will run out of time to broker agreements on the most complicated issue because of Mr Barnier’s “parallelism” policy.
The bloc has not engaged in British proposals while it waits for Downing Street to make significant concessions in the future relationship talks.
A source close to the talks said: “The frustration is we’ve tried different process routes at different stages in the negotiations, and parallelism seems to mean whatever the EU wants it to mean at any given moment.
“It’s true to say everything has got to be settled at the end… It seems strange with so little time left there is now a focus on the most difficult issues which everyone knows will not be settled, if settled at all, until the end.”
During the seventh round of negotiations in Brussels, Mr Barnier turned down the opportunity to discuss a “consolidated text” put forward by British officials.
The document focused on eliminating trade tariffs and quotas by piecing together areas, such as goods and services trade, where both sides largely agree.
EU negotiators also rejected the opportunity to discuss UK proposals on a future fisheries treaty.
European sources claim the talks are deadlocked because Britain wants to return significant opportunities snatched away from UK vessels after nearly 50 years of EU membership.
Downing Street has repeatedly said fishing stocks must be shared using new scientific methods and discussed during annual negotiations with the bloc.
“The UK has refused to engage on the track record as provided by the Commission,” an EU source said.
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During today’s crisis talks, Mr Frost will urge Mr Barnier to consider a “fallback” solution on catch quotas in case talks on a fisheries pact fail.
Industry leaders have warned of clashes between European fishermen and the Royal Navy if they are suddenly banned from British waters after the end of the year.
A source said: “The EU has always said that fishing is a key issue for resolution but has subsequently declined to discuss it.
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“We had hoped to make progress and presented room papers, but unfortunately, the EU has refused to engage due to their self imposed requirements.
“There is a need for more realism from the EU on the scale of the change that results from our leaving the EU.
“This is not a request but the legal default under international law.”
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