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Brexit drags on as ‘deadline’ summit fails to deliver a deal

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A crucial EU leaders’ summit on Thursday will yield no breakthrough in the Brexit negotiations, both sides confirmed Wednesday, putting pressure on Boris Johnson to make good on a threat to end talks or admit that he set a false deadline and allow negotiators to keep trying.

In September, the U.K. prime minister stated that if London and Brussels didn’t reach a deal by the October 15 meeting, the U.K. was prepared to accept this and “move on.”

Negotiators have indeed failed to reach a deal on their post-Brexit trade and political relationship. And rather than EU leaders giving their formal blessing to an accord at the meeting in Brussels, the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier will instead merely give an update on the state of play of the talks.

Spoiler: It’s not been going well.

The sides remain far apart on major issues, and on Wednesday London and Brussels sent their spin machines into overdrive, with each side blaming the other for the stalemate.

“At this point, it’s too early to give in on fisheries” — EU diplomat

Senior EU officials said they expect the bloc’s leaders to issue a statement expressing their support for Barnier, stressing the sense of unity among the 27 and urging an intensification of talks, given the fast-approaching end of the transition period on December 31.

EU leaders’ insistence that they are still eager for an accord puts Johnson in a bind.

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