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Risk remains of no-deal Brexit, warns top German MEP

Brexit negotiations between the UK and EU have been going on for nine months

Brexit negotiations between the UK and EU have been going on for nine months

Britain could still crash out of the European Union's single market in 10 days' time without a trade deal, a senior member of European Parliament told DW on Monday.

David McAllister, a European lawmaker from Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats, said that it was "difficult to predict" whether UK and EU Brexit negotiators would succeed.

"We're in the very last mile of these negotiations, and I still hope we can avoid a no-deal scenario because a no-deal would have severe consequences for both sides, but especially for the United Kingdom," McAllister said.

European lawmakers want a 'decisive say'

Members of the European Parliament are angry that they have not yet seen any of the negotiated text by EU official Michel Barnier and his British counterpart, David Frost.

They say it is undemocratic if MEPs are not given time to properly scrutinize any deal.

One option would be for the European Parliament to approve it in principle by 31 December and complete formal ratification early next year.

Sources present at a private meeting of MEPs on Monday told DW that they urged EU lawyers that the European Parliament must have a "decisive say whatever the outcome of the talks."

Aides canceling Christmas plans

But diplomats on both sides were downbeat on the chances of an imminent breakthrough amid an ongoing row over fisheries.

They will likely continue their talks for a post-Brexit trade deal on Tuesday.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the while the UK wants to reach an agreement, it "can cope with no deal."

Senior aides from the UK and the EU told DW that they had already canceled their Christmas plans over fears talks might drag on even longer.

"The talks are difficult and significant differences remain," said a UK government spokesperson. "We will continue to explore every route to a deal that is in line with the fundamental principles we brought into the negotiations."

EU sources close to the talks said they were "gloomy" about chances of success in the negotiations that began nine months ago.

Aside from fishing, the UK and the EU also failed to see eye to eye for much of that time on how to prevent unfair trade competition and how to police a deal.

Britain is currently inside a transition phase during which it follows all EU rules.

The government has ruled out extending the deadline for reaching a post-Brexit trade deal into 2021, amid a deadlock in talks and a growing Covid crisis.

It comes after calls from Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and London Mayor Sadiq Khan to follow EU trading rules beyond December 31 to allow more time for an agreement.