The insider claimed the European Parliament’s ratification process is already in danger after wrangling over the future relationship pact missed a number of vital deadlines. EU and UK negotiators are expected to make significant progress in the talks ahead of a crunch summit of the bloc’s leaders on Thursday. But Brussels is already making plans for talks to extend into December with no signs of a breakthrough on the horizon.
The diplomat said: “This will be tight and as the negotiations drag on we will maybe have to see that we find some creative solution but that is too early to discuss that at this stage.
“First let’s see whether we’ll have an agreement and if there is an agreement when there will be an agreement and then we take it from there.”
European diplomats and officials expected any trade deal to be completed by October 31 to allow time for the ratification process.
Brussels may be left looking for ‘creative solutions’ to help get Brexit talks over the line
Michel Barnier is the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator
Senior members of the EU Parliament’s Brexit committee had wanted up to two months to scrutinise any agreement.
But they now face having to streamline the process with Michel Barnier and UK counterpart Lord Frost yet to break the deadlock in the rows over future fishing rights and common standards.
German MEPs David McAllister and Bernd Lange have already issues furious complaints to Mr Barnier over the delays in the trade talks.
Michel Barnier will hold Brexit talks with his UK counterpart Lord Frost in Brussels this week
Despite their rants, the European Council officials have claimed they are prepared to allow the process run until December 10 at the latest.
Eurocrats insist any agreement must be fully completed and translated into the bloc’s 24 official languages by the cut-off point.
This would leave MEPs with just five days to scrutinise the legal text before a planned vote on December 16.
Preparations are being made for an emergency EU Parliament session between Christmas and New Year, when the institution is in recess, to rubber-stamp the Brexit trade deal before the end of the transition period.
Lord Frost has warned any Brexit deal must respect Britain’s sovereignty
Brussels insiders have said the bloc are poised to switch their focus to preparations for a no-deal Brexit if there is no progress made in this week’s trade talks.
Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney suggested this decision could be delayed until 10 days’ time at the latest.
In a downbeat assessment of the talks, he said the lack of a break through in fisheries was a cause for concern.
Mr Coveney said: “The negotiations are not in a good place when it comes to fishing.
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“There hasn’t been any success in closing the gap between the positions of either side.
“Until we find a way of doing that, there isn’t going to be an agreement. We’re in the same place in fishing as we were in mid-summer and neither side has really budged from their position.”
Mr Barnier hinted at another massive stumbling block to a deal when he refused to drop his demands for fair competition clauses as the price for any free-trade agreement.
The Frenchman wants to keep Britain tied to the EU’s rulebook on state aid, enviromental standards and workers’ rights.
UK Brexit chief Lord Frost is adamant the Government must take back control of laws and fishing waters before any deal is acceptable.