Barnier says Brexit deal needed by late October to ensure safe ratification

EU's Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier gestures as he holds a news conference after a meeting with Britain's chief negotiator David Frost in Brussels, Belgium August 21, 2020. REUTERS/Yves Herman/Pool

PARIS (Reuters) - Michel Barnier, the European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator, on Wednesday repeated his call for a deal with Britain on future ties by the end of October, after negotiations made little progress last week.

“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 Oct. 31,” Barnier told a French employers’ federation conference outside Paris.

Barnier and his British counterpart, David Frost, blamed each other for the stalemate last week. London said it believed a deal on post-Brexit relations was still possible.

Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Richard Lough and Alex Richardson