EU says still time for Brexit deal as failure looms

WORLD

London: Frustrated European ministers on Monday insisted there was still time to reach a Brexit deal despite the latest failed round of divorce talks, but the EU warned it was stepping up preparations for failure.

Meeting in Luxembourg, foreign ministers from the bloc s 28 members admitted that no agreement will be struck this week at an EU leaders  summit that had earlier been billed as the “moment of truth”.

EU Brexit pointman Michel Barnier met his British counterpart Dominic Raab in Brussels on Sunday, but they failed to agree to a draft Brexit divorce arrangement, as EU leaders prepare to arrive on Wednesday for the summit.

Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney, whose country would suffer the biggest economic impact after the United Kingdom from a “no-deal” Brexit, said the latest stumble was “frustrating and disappointing”.

And in Brussels, European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said the bloc s own “no deal” preparations were being stepped up.

“While we are working hard for a deal, our preparedness and contingency work is continuing and intensifying,” spokesman Margaritis Schinas said.