Brussels has further ramped up its bloc-wide preparations for a hard Brexit, as negotiations remain at an impasse and high-level talks are currently stalled.
EU ambassadors met in the Belgian capital on Wednesday to evaluate the union’s position and exposure. Following the committee’s meeting, they announced plans to hold seminars and talks to explore the union’s best way of dealing with a no-deal Brexit.
Various scenarios will be explored, and experts will attempt to formulate contingency plans for a range of issues.
Meanwhile, a European Commission spokesperson said he was unable to “confirm” when the next round of negotiations will be taking place.
Elaborating, he said “Contact at [the] technical level continues”, and the European Commission will “debrief COREPER [the Committee of Permanent Representatives] this afternoon on the latest state of play this afternoon of negotiations.”
“This is just a routine update of the state of play of negotiations. I’ve got no juicy details to give you I’m afraid.”
Despite negotiations remaining deadlocked over disagreements related to the Northern Irish backstop, a British government spokesperson said they are keen to secure a deal “as soon as possible”, vowing to “continue to work with the EU to make this happen.”
However, even if the UK is able to agree a deal with Brussels, it will still be difficult for the government to get it past parliament, especially with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) – a key Tory ally – vowing to vote down any deal which risks creating a hard border or potentially jeopardizes the Good Friday Agreement.