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Brexit latest: Major part of deal COLLAPSES – EU says UK talks ‘like climbing Himalayas’ | Politics | News

As it stands, the issues of fair competition, fisheries and governance still remain the main areas of divergence between Michel Barnier and Lord David Frost. However, other substantial elements within the deal, such as the Erasmus+ exchange programme have caused talks to stall. Such is the chaos over the matter, one MEP compared negotiating with the UK to “climbing the Himalayas”. 

A member of the EU Parliament’s UK coordination group, Nathalie Loiseau, said: “We are far from an agreement.

“Nothing is impossible to a willing heart, but it’s like climbing the Himalaya from the northern side.”

Throughout talks, officials have expressed their concern over losing access to the valuable student exchange programme. 

Education and business leaders had stated the loss of the programme would remove £243million a year in income and cause an estimated 17,000 students to miss out on studying abroad. 

In particular, students from less affluent backgrounds would be worst hit as they would be unable to fund their travel and expenses without the programme. 

Overall, the project receives £420million from EU students who study in the UK – after subtracting membership costs it drops to £243million. 

Joe Fitzsimons, the head of education and skills policy at the Institute of Directors, said: “Many employers deeply value the kind of international experience the Erasmus scheme helps foster.

“Given the benefits it can bring students and businesses, maintaining access to Erasmus and wider EU research and education partnerships has been a priority for the IoD from the off.”

On Monday, Mr Barnier held talks with EU ambassadors to brief them on the current state of affairs before negotiations with Lord Forst reconvened. 

Although gaps still remain, he indicated the UK had backtracked on its demands thus sparking hope a deal could be agreed. 

A UK source later denied that, saying: “The inaccurate briefings from the EU side in recent days have made a difficult discussion even more challenging in the short period of time we have left.”

FOLLOW BELOW FOR LIVE UPDATES:

 

7.19am update: “Negotiating with the UK like trying to climb the Himalayas” 

The areas of divergence remain between the two sides but now talks have failed to reach an agreement on the valuable Erasmus+ programme. 

The project generates £243million a year for the UK and allows an estimated 17,000 students to continue their education abroad. 

On Monday, Mr Barnier concluded the two sides were unable to come to an agreement on the programme. 

Following the news of the deadlock, MEP Nathalie Loiseau and member of European Parliament’s UK coordination group said: “We are far from an agreement.

“There are indeed other points than the level playing field, governance and fisheries which remain to be solved.

“Nothing is impossible to a willing heart, but it’s like climbing the Himalaya from the northern side.”



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