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European sources said the Brexit trade talks had failed to produce a breakthrough because of disagreements over access to Britain’s coastal waters, state aid rules and policing any final agreement. Details of the impasse emerged after EU member states were briefed by the European Commission’s secretary-general. Michel Barnier was due to update the bloc’s 27 ambassadors but was forced into isolation after a member of his team tested positive for coronavirus.
Both sides have agreed to continue the talks online as time runs out to strike a deal before the end of Britain’s transition from the bloc in December.
One EU insider said UK negotiator Lord Frost was still refusing to budge in order to pave the way to a compromise on fisheries.
Member states also called for an immediate acceleration of the EU’s no-deal Brexit contingency planning.
A source said: “Contingency measures need to be readied in case of a no deal. The plans for the issues we’d foreseen in 2019 need to go through the European Parliament and Council – time is getting tight.”
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