Leaders of the European Union member states are expected to declare at a summit next week that progress on Brexit negotiations so far has not been sufficient for the talks to move beyond what has become known as the "divorce settlement" and onto the substantive issues of trade talks and the UK's post Brexit relationship with the EU. EU Commission negotiator Michel Barnier said this week that the current talks between Britain and the EU were deadlocked.

Pat Ivory, director of EU and International Affairs with employers group Ibec, said that businesses in Ireland, the UK and across Europe are very concerned with the slow pace of the Brexit negotiations. Mr Ivory said that businesses want to avoid a Brexit "cliff edge" but more and more countries and business federations across Europe are advising their companies to prepare for that scenario. Irish companies need certainty and they also need time to prepare and adjust to such a cliff edge situation, he added. 

In order to provide the certainty that is required, Mr Ivory said that transition arrangements are needed to allow companies prepare. He said that while there is no clarity about the future relationship, a status quo solution is needed where the UK remains in the Single Market and the Customs Union for the duration of the transition period. While that will have certain benefits, it will also carry obligations but will ensure certainty for citizens as well as business, he said.

Mr Ivory said the UK government now needs to rapidly come forward with negotiations and proposals on all of the three issues which are critical in the first stage of the talks - citizens' rights, Irish issues and the financial settlement. Some progress has been made on these first two issues, but Mr Ivory said the talks are still deadlocked on the financial situation. He said the business assessment is that the European Union will need some type of proposals around that in order to allow Michel Barnier move on to the next phase.

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MORNING BRIEFS - Independent News and Media chief executive Robert Pitt is leaving the company today. His resignation was announced in a statement to the stock exchange yesterday evening. Mr Pitt and INM chairman Leslie Buckley, an appointee of INM shareholder Denis O'Brien, had faced off over the proposed acquisition by INM of radio station Newstalk - owned by Mr O'Brien's Communicorp last year. Mr Pitt believed the price to be too high. The deal never went ahead but has lead to an investigation by the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement.

*** Jobs listings in accounting, finance and banking were up 22% during the three months to the end of September according to the latest employment monitor from recruitment firm CPL. Listings in sales and marketing, science, engineering and IT all fell during the period, though. 

*** The three months to the end of September represented the busiest quarter for initial public offerings of European companies in three years, according to figures compiled by PwC. Proceeds from stock market listings across Europe during the third quarter more than doubled from €3.8 billion in the same period of 2016 to €8.2 billion. The biggest during the period was the €2.1 billion flotation of smart metering company Landis and Gyr.