EU prepared for worst-case scenario of no deal with UK – German minister


Talks between the UK and the European Union on a post-Brexit trade agreement are at a critical stage and the bloc is prepared for the "worst-case" no-deal scenario, a senior German minister has said.

Michael Roth, Angela Merkel's Europe minister, said time was running out to conclude a deal and suggested the UK would have to give further ground on fishing rights, "level playing field" arrangements such as state subsidies, and the way any deal would be governed.

Boris Johnson's Europe adviser Lord Frost is engaged in intensive negotiations ahead of Thursday's summit of EU leaders, which the Prime Minister has set as a deadline for progress on a deal.

Lord Frost's EU counterpart Michel Barnier was updating ministers from across the bloc at a meeting in Luxembourg ahead of the leaders' summit.

At the Luxembourg General Affairs Council (GAC) meeting, Mr Roth said: "Frankly speaking, we are at a very critical stage in the negotiations. We are extremely under pressure, time is running out.

"That's why we expect substantial progress by our friends from the UK in key areas."

Mr Roth added: "We are well-prepared for both scenarios, everybody should know that a no-deal scenario is the worst case, not just for the European Union but also for the United Kingdom, but we are also prepared for that.

"But we are working very hard on a good deal, on a sustainable deal which is acceptable for both sides."