THERE is “deadlock” in Britain’s negotiations with Brussels over the divorce settlement, Michel Barnier has insisted, as he gave a gloomy assessment of the talks’ process, saying the latest round had ended without taking any "great steps forward".

The EU’s chief negotiator announced that, consequently, he would not be recommending talks should start on the post-Brexit UK/EU trade relationship at next week's European Council summit; a timescale the UK Government had set its hopes on.

Donald Tusk, the European Council President, has already suggested that it now looked as though such talks would not take place until December; at the earliest.

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Mr Barnier's comments, made at a joint press conference with David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, in Brussels, are a clear setback to Theresa May’s Government, which had been hoping to persuade the remaining 27 EU leaders at the October 19/20 summit that sufficient progress had been made on the divorce deal to move on to discussions on the future UK/EU relationship on issues including trade.

But the EU’s chief negotiator offered a glimmer of hope that progress could still be made before the end of the year, noting: “I've been saying since the Florence speech that there is a new momentum and I remain convinced today that, with political will, decisive progress is within our grasp in the next two months."

He dismissed talk of concessions, arguing that any agreement would not be built on them.

"There is no question of making concessions on citizens' rights. There is no question of making concessions on the peace process in Northern Ireland,” he declared.

"As regards the financial settlement, there is no question of making concessions on thousands of European investment projects throughout Europe.”

He went on: "We have shared objectives and we have shared obligations. We also have shared duties and we shall succeed only with shared solutions. That is our responsibility.”

The EU’s chief negotiator told reporters there was "still disagreement" on how to resolve issues about citizens' rights after Brexit.

He argued the interpretation of rights must be "genuinely consistent" between the UK and the EU after Britain quit and suggested they must be applied through the European Court of Justice; a proposal the UK Government fundamentally disagrees with.

"We are continuing to work on the specific instruments and mechanisms which would give practical effect to this intention," Mr Barnier said.

He made clear there was "deadlock" on the issue of the scale of Britain's financial settlement, revealing there had been no negotiations on the issue this week. He described the UK Government's refusal to discuss in detail the so-called Brexit bill as "very disturbing".

Mrs May's announcement in her Florence speech that Britain would honour commitments entered into as an EU member was "important", noted Mr Barnier.

But he added: "This week, however, the UK repeated that it was still not ready to spell out these commitments. There have, therefore, been no negotiations on this subject. We confined ourselves to technical discussions; useful discussions but technical discussions.

"On this question we have reached a state of deadlock which is very disturbing for thousands of project promoters in Europe and it's disturbing also for taxpayers," insisted the EU’s chief negotiator.

On the Irish border, he said the talks had "advanced" during this week's discussions.

But he stressed there was "more work to do in order to build a full picture of the challenges to North-South co-operation resulting from the UK - and therefore Northern Ireland - leaving the EU legal framework".

Mr Davis presented a more optimistic outlook, saying while there was still much work to be done, the talks had made "significant progress" since June.

On the issue of citizens' rights, he said they were confident there would be agreement "soon" on incorporating the final withdrawal treaty into UK law, ensuring EU nationals in the UK would be able to enforce their rights through the UK courts.

EU citizens would still have to register with the UK authorities, he explained, but the process would be streamlined to make it as simple as possible.

Those already in possession of a permanent residence card would be able to exchange it for "settled status" without having to go through the full application process again, explained Mr Davis.