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15th October 2020, 20:17

European Council Statement: EU Leaders agree to continue negotiations but put the ball in the UK's court

At the end of day one of the European Council's summit in Brussels, EU leaders have sent a message to the UK that they stick to the bloc's conditions and that the UK must face them or expect a no-deal. They have called on Downing Street to “make the necessary moves to make an agreement possible”.

Meanwhile, technical talks on the future relationship between Gibraltar and the European Union have continued in the Campo de Gibraltar, following Wednesday's talks on the Rock.

As in previous rounds, the Chief Minister and his Deputy are taking part, along with officials from Gibraltar, the UK and Spain.

A spokesperson for Number Six said the Government expects to be in a position to make a statement once the talks are further advanced, but can say no more at this stage.

In a statement issued on Thursday afternoon, the EU leaders say they've noted “with concern that progress on the key issues of interest to the union is still not sufficient for an agreement to be reached”.

They have asked the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, to “continue negotiations in the coming weeks”.

Boris Johnson who had previously said he would move on if nothing was agreed by today, is now believed to have extended his self imposed deadline to tomorrow when the summit comes to a close.

THe EU has not agreed to intensify talks but the prime minister is nevertheless expected to continue the negotiations with the aim of reaching a deal by mid November.

France is insistent it will not budge from its position on fishing.

The bloc's leaders urge the UK to engage meaningfully with the EU’s team to accelerate progress in the period ahead.

The statement makes reference to Boris Johnson’s decision to try to unilaterally rewrite the withdrawal agreement through the internal market bill . It mandates the commission to take further steps to protect the EU in the event of a no-deal.