The British government has prepared four 80-metre Royal Navy vessels to guard its waters if negotiators cannot agree on a post-Brexit trade deal.
Both sides say they have not yet resolved their differences on a number of issues including fishing with a decision about the future of talks expected to be made tomorrow.
Fine Gael’s Brexit spokesperson Neale Richmond says a responsible prime minister would not have allowed the situation to get to this stage.
“We have the British Daily Star telling [French] President Macron where he can ‘shove his croissant’ and we have seen this throughout the process.
“One of the things that has been failed to be realised by the Brexiteers is we speak English, we read British newspaper and watch British media. We can hear when they are playing to a domestic audience and it certainly does make things very difficult.”
Britain had earlier warned that a post-Brexit trade deal is “very, very unlikely” with growing signs that last ditch talks may actually extend beyond Sunday’s planned deadline.
However, all sides appear increasingly gloomy about the prospects of a breakthrough with two major sticking points remaining in the negotiations.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says there remain two key points are fishing and what he described as a “clause [the EU] have got in to keep the UK locked in to whatever they want to do in terms of legislation”.
French President Emmanuel Macron said the EU did not “want to have their cake and eat it”, but needed to ensure they were securing a good deal.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen agreed the negotiations are going down to the wire, adding: “We will decide on Sunday whether we have the conditions for the agreement or not”.
Negotiations are still ongoing but the end of the transition is near. There is no guarantee that if & when an agreement is found it can enter into force on time. We have to be prepared including for not having a deal in place on 1 January. Today we present contingency measures ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/FQ4Urn9YUC
— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) December 10, 2020
Ms von der Leyen had dinner with Mr Johnson in Brussels on Wednesday evening in the hopes of breaking the deadlock, while the European Commission confirmed it is preparing for “all eventualities” according to the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier.
Germany’s foreign minister Heiko Mass has indicated a few more days may be needed if a deal is to be struck.