Germany says Brexit talks in 'critical' stage

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/File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Trade talks between the European Union and the United Kingdom are at a “critical” stage, a German minister said on Tuesday, demanding “substantive” moves from London on key sticking points: fisheries, dispute settling and fair competition guarantees.

German EU affairs minister, Michael Roth, said the EU was working hard for a deal both sides could accept but that it was also ready for the most damaging split, without an accord to keep on trading without tariffs or quotas from 2021.

“We are at a very critical stage in the negotiations and we are extremely under pressure. Time is running out,” Roth said on arriving for talks with his EU peers on Brexit.

“That’s why we expect substantial progress by our friends in the United Kingdom in key areas in particular on governance, level playing field and fisheries.”

Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska, Marine Strauss; Editing by Catherine Evans