EU leaders are to meet in Brussels on Thursday and Friday to discuss Brexit. According to a draft summit decision reported by Reuters, they will say that progress in talks with Britain is "still not sufficient" to conclude a new trade deal.
As the deadline for a deal that can be ratified in time for the new year approaches, the 27 EU leaders are to agree to intensify emergency preparations for an abrupt no-deal Brexit.
With around a trillion euros of annual trade at stake, the summit will also ask EU negotiator Michel Barnier to step up efforts to arrive at a deal than be implemented when the transition period expires.
when the transition period expires. The EU will also request that Britain fully implements its withdrawal agreement.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is later today scheduled to speak with President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen to discuss next steps on the eve of the EU leaders' summit.
Yesterday, EU ministers called on Britain to make concessions on fisheries, dispute settlement and fair competition guarantees, in talks Germany described as at a “critical stage”.
These three points have been challenging for some time, but both sides say progress has been made in recent weeks.
Any deal theoretically needs to be agreed this month to allow time for ratification by the European Parliament and EU member states’ parliaments. However, according to some EU diplomats the bloc is preparing to negotiate until mid-November to avoid being blamed if the talks fail.