Brexit negotiations took a sudden step backwards on Thursday afternoon, 4 December, after furious French lobbying pushed the EU to make late demands, Aljazeera reports.
Brexit is the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community.
The apparent eleventh-hour hardening of the EU position was said to have destabilised the protracted talks, peeling back progress made over the previous 24 hours.
UK sources said the EU had started pushing for further and harder assurances over the role of a domestic regulator of subsidies after the transition period, a claim dismissed outright by Brussels.
The source said; “At the eleventh hour, the EU is bringing new elements into the negotiation, a breakthrough is still possible in the next few days but that prospect is receding.
EU sources said the bloc’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, could return to Brussels on Friday to brief officials and diplomats on the latest development while it is widely believed that the tortuous negotiations could reach a climax at the weekend.
On Wednesday, France’s ambassador in Brussels had been among the 11 representatives of EU member states saying that Barnier had to hold firm in the talks.
The wobble in the talks could tee-up a long expected arbitration meeting between Boris Johnson and the European commission president, Ursula von der Leyen.
It has long been thought that the choreography of a deal would require a stormy moment before the agreement was finally signed at a political level.
The development came as France’s prime minister, Jean Castex, visited his country’s biggest fishing port to warn that his government had to compromise and to say that coastal communities should prepare for a new era as the Brexit talks entered decisive days.
With negotiators working through the day and night in London, Castex travelled to Boulogne-sur-Mer, in Pas-de-Calais, to advise representatives of the fishing industry that they should ready themselves for change.
He promised national solidarity to the territories concerned and repeated the familiar mantra that France would not accept a trade and security deal with the UK at any price. Castex said Europe’s coastal communities would not be treated as a pawn in the wider trade and security talks.