Brexit POLL: As trade talks end early is it time for Boris to compromise with the EU? VOTE

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Express.co.uk readers can vote in our poll on whether the Prime Minister should back down in trade talks with the EU on key sticking points such as fishing or the level playing field on standards. The latest round of negotiations, which have been taking place in Brussels with the two sides meeting face-to-face for the first time since the coronavirus outbreak, broke up on Thursday.

The talks in the Belgian capital had been due to continue to Friday.

In a statement, Mr Johnson’s Europe adviser David Frost said that meeting in person had given “extra depth and flexibility” to the discussions but he warned there was more to do.

He said: “We have completed our discussion of the full range of issues in the negotiation in just over three days.

“The negotiations have been comprehensive and useful. But they have also underlined the significant differences that still remain between us on a number of important issues.”

The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier warned there were still “serious divergences” between the two sides.

He said: “Our goal was to get negotiations successfully and quickly on a trajectory to reach an agreement.

“However, after four days of discussions, serious divergences remain.”

Mr Barnier said Brussels had “listened carefully” to the UK’s demands but insisted there could be no deal without agreements on fisheries and the level playing field which forces Britain to follow the EU’s standards.

He added: “We will continue to insist on parallel progress on all areas.

“The EU expects, in turn, its positions to be better understood and respected in order to reach an agreement. We need an equivalent engagement by the United Kingdom.”

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Another round of talks will resume in London next week.

It had been hoped the face-to-face meetings would lead to a breakthrough after negotiations had been taking place remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Fishing arrangements and the level playing field have proved to be major stumbling blocks in talks.

The face-to-face negotiations were agreed following a virtual summit between Mr Johnson and EU leaders in June in a bid to break the deadlock.

The Prime Minister has insisted he will refuse to allow talks to drag on and both sides have acknowledged that the end of October is when an agreement needs to be concluded in order to ratify it this year.

If the UK and the EU are unable to reach a deal it will mean Britain leaving the single market and the customs union without any agreement on future access.

Brexit formally took place on January 31 and the UK is in a transition period with the EU until December 31 2020.

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