There is growing frustration in Brussels as Brexit negotiations rumble on with only a few days left before an official departure date for the U.K.
"Let's get on with it. We have bigger fish to fry," an EU official with knowledge of the negotiations but who preferred to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the situation, told CNBC Sunday regarding the mood in Brussels and ahead Tuesday's vote in London.
Talks between the U.K. and the EU stalled over the weekend, after both sides failed to come to an agreement over the "Irish backstop" — an insurance policy which aims to prevent a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
This issue is not new in the Brexit process, with certain U.K. lawmakers heavily criticizing this insurance policy that the U.K. government formulated with the EU last year. It was seen as a key reason why the U.K. Parliament overwhelmingly rejected May's deal in January.
However, the deadlock is becoming more pressing by the minute ahead of a key vote in the U.K. Parliament Tuesday — and roughly two weeks away from the U.K.'s scheduled departure date from the EU. If the U.K. does not approve an exit deal there's a significant risk that it will leave without any arrangements, bringing uncertainty to businesses and citizens on both sides of the English Channel.
U.K. lawmakers are due to vote again on the Withdrawal Agreement Tuesday evening, after they rejected it by a 230 vote-margin back in January. Since then, the U.K. has tried to get further concessions from the EU side, but the other 27 countries have refused to change its stance.
Michel Barnier, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, tried to appease the concerns among U.K. lawmakers regarding the Irish backstop on Friday. Barnier said the U.K. would not be forced into a customs union against its will and reiterated that he is ready to strengthen two important commitments that are already in the Withdrawal Agreement.
These commitments state that the EU will act in good faith and it will use its best endeavors to prevent having to trigger the Irish backstop. European officials believe that these commitments prove that the 27 countries do not want to reach a state whereby they have to implement this insurance policy. Given that these promises are written in the Withdrawal Agreement they are legally binding.