Michel Barnier and Lord Frost confirmed they would escalate the Brexit talks to their political leaders after failing to break the deadlock. On Friday Mr Barnier said: “After one week of intense negotiations in London, together with David Frost, we agreed today that the conditions for an agreement are not me, due to significant divergences on level playing field, governance and fisheries.”We agreed to pause the talks in order to brief our principles on the state of play in the negotiations. President von der Leyen and Prime Minister Johnson will discuss the state of play tomorrow afternoon.”
Lord Frost said: “After one week of intense negotiations in London, the two chief negotiators agreed today that the conditions for an agreement are not met, due to significant divergences on level playing field, governance and fisheries.
“On this basis, they agreed to pause the talks in order to brief their principles on the start of play in the negotiations.
“President von der Leyen and Prime Minister Johnson will discuss the state of play tomorrow afternoon.”
Insiders have claimed it will be a “genuine challenge” to make progress after French interference left the wrangling over the trade talks on the brink. The Prime Minister will be working from country retreat Chequers this weekend.
Recent discussions soured after France forced Mr Barnier to table new demands that sparked a breakdown in the talks.
The French government was in no mood to drop its uncompromising.
In an antagonistic television appearance, Europe minister Clement Beaune for the first time publicly declared his country’s plan to vote down the trade deal unless Boris Johnson offers significant concessions on access to Britain’s waters.
Mr Beaune fumed: “If there were a deal that isn’t good which in our evaluation doesn’t correspond to those interests, we will oppose it.
“France like all its partners has the means of a veto, we must make our own evaluation of course of this deal.
“We owe that to the French people, we owe it to our fishermen, and to other economic sectors.”
The French sparked a blow-up in the talks after forcing Mr Barnier to make “eleventh hour” demands that prevented negotiators from getting a deal over the line.
But Angela Merkel on Friday insisted the EU would have to give more ground if they are to clinch an agreement.
They were due to sign off on the deal at their European Council gathering on December 10.
The European Parliament is still set to complete the EU’s ratification process during a special plenary session on December 28.
European Council President Charles Michel called for EU states to be unified as the trade talks go to the wire.
He told a news conference: “It is really essential to make sure that what we put on the table at the end of the negotiations will be accepted by all the member states.
“Until the last minute, the last second of the procedure we will guarantee that unity amongst ourselves.”