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The European Union’s chief negotiator said he handed a timetable to British counterpart David Frost, detailing how the talks must pan out. Mr Barnier insisted the final moment for them to strike a deal falls on Halloween because of the bloc’s complicated ratification process. He said: “If we are to ensure the ratification of a new treaty in a secure way before the end of the year, we need to have an agreement by around October 31.”
Britain is set to complete its transition from EU rules on December 31.
In order to leave with a free-trade agreement in place, the pact must first be rubber-stamped by member states and the European Parliament.
Wrangling over the free-trade agreement broke up last week in acrimony after both sides failed to close the gaps in their positions.
Mr Barnier said he is willing to meet with Mr Frost next week if the conditions are right.
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