The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator was filmed leaving his London hotel this morning as he headed to meet British negotiators. When asked if a deal will be reached this week, he told reporters: “Work continues even on a Sunday.” Mr Barnier has been in London this weekend for talks with his UK counterpart David Frost, but Downing Street said there remains a lot to do at a late hour.
Progress is understood to have been made across many areas, yet significant gaps remain on the EU’s access to UK fishing waters when the transition period ends on December 31.
Face-to-face negotiations were able to resume on Friday, one of the EU team tested positive for coronavirus, forcing the negotiators to isolate.
This morning Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the UK is entering into “the las week or so” of “substantive” trade talks with the bloc.
He also urged the EU to compromise on the matter of fisheries, which he states is still a major stumbling bloc in the negotiations.
Mr Raab told Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “As we leave the transition (period), we are an independent coastal state – we’ve got to be able to control our waters.
“We can talk about transitions and things like that and we recognise the impact it has on other countries around Europe.
“But that principle comes with sovereignty, comes with leaving not just the EU but the transition period.
“I think the answer is, can the EU accept that point of principle that comes with us leaving the political club?”
Asked if a possible deal could collapse over the issue of fisheries, Mr Raab added: “I think it’s important the EU understand the point of principle.
“If they show the pragmatism, the goodwill and the good faith that, in fairness, has surrounded the last leg of the talks – and certainly we’ve shown our flexibility – I think there’s a deal to be done.”
The Government has repeatedly said it is prepared to leave the transition period without a deal if the EU fails to move, and talks have been deadlocked for months over fishing rights and the level playing field.
More to follow…