No progress on substance in EU-Britain trade deal, Germany says

FILE PHOTO: German Minister of State for Europe at the Federal Foreign Office, Michael Roth gives a news conference after the General Affairs Council at the European Council Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, September 22, 2020. Aris Oikonomou/Pool via REUTERS

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - There is no progress on substance in talks on a future trade deal between the European Union and Britain and because time is running out, the EU will have to step up preparations for a no-deal possibility, German Europe minister Michael Roth said.

Speaking at a press conference after a meeting of Europe ministers from the EU’s 27 member states, Roth said the bloc still very much wanted a deal with Britain because failure would be painful for both sides, although more so for Britain.

“In terms of substance we have not rally made progress, time is running out,” Roth said.

“We are working hard on a reasonable solution, but we will have to step up contingency planning and we stress that a no deal will be painful for both sides, but more painful for the UK,” he said.

“We want to do our best to get a reasonable solution,” he said, stressing the unity of the EU in the talks.

Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska