EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier says there’s a simple key to progress:
"Just one word. Trust and confidence are and will be key.”
But a day of high drama Thursday (September 10) saw trust and confidence in very short supply.
After emergency talks, the EU ordered the UK to drop plans for a bill that would breach the existing withdrawal agreement.
London openly says the legislation would breach international law.
But ministers have bluntly rejected the EU demand, saying the UK parliament is sovereign above international law.
The bill will now proceed for debate by lawmakers.
That has plunged negotiations over a Brexit trade deal into chaos.
In a statement following the talks European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic said the EU could sue London over the legislation.
The EU has said the bill must be dropped by the end of September.
That’s something Boris Johnson’s government steadfastly refuses to do.
But it faces domestic opposition too.
Even some pro-Brexit members of the House of Lords, Britain’s upper chamber of parliament, are aghast at plans to break the law.
Former Conservative finance minister Norman Lamont said he didn’t think the bill could get through the Lords.
Markets have taken note of the mounting turmoil.
Sterling sank to six-week lows against the dollar following Thursday’s drama.