Brexit news latest – Deal STILL possible, Barnier declares as EU hints at concessions within days in trade talks

A post-Brexit trade deal with the EU is STILL possible, Michel Barnier has declared.

Britain and the EU yesterdayagreed to “go the extra mile” to reach a deal despite missing their latest deadline.

And Boris Johnson hinted Brexit talks could last right up until New Year’s Eve – the final day of the Brexit transition period – as he vowed Britain “won’t be walking away”.

“We are going to give every chance to this agreement … which is still possible,” Barnier told journalists on arriving to update envoys from the 27 EU countries in Brussels on the UK talks. “A good, balanced agreement.”

And analysis of the situation by the BBC's Katya Adler suggested the EUis now hinting that concessions could be on the cards within the next few days as the end of the transition period looms.

Follow our Brexit live blog for all the latest news and updates…

  • Christy Cooney

    'PATIENT STILL ALIVE'

    Discussing the prospects of a Brexit trade deal, one EU diplomat has said the "patient [is] still alive" but added: "keep the undertaker on speed dial".

    It came after chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier briefed ambassadors from the block on progress in the talks.

    The two sides are now reportedly more optimistic about reaching a deal, but differences are said to remain on state aid and fisheries.

  • Christy Cooney

    POSITIVE DISCUSSION ON 'LEVEL PLAYING FIELD'

    The UK and the EU have had "positive discussions" on how to address the issue of the so-called level playing field, the Times reports.

    The issue of whether regulations in the UK should need to align with those in the EU after Brexit has been a key sticking point in talks.

    There is concern in the EU that any failure by the UK to do so would give British companies an unfair advantage over European ones.

  • Christy Cooney

    POUND RISES AS TALKS SET TO RESUME

    The value of the pound has risen after Michel Barnier said he thought a Brexit deal is still possible.

    Ahead of further talks today, Barnier said: “We are going to give every chance to this agreement… which is still possible."

    Following the comment, the pound rose above $1.34 for the first time since Wednesday night.

  • Christy Cooney

    'MINIMAL PROGRESS' IN TALKS

    Negotiations between the UK and EU have brought "minimal progress" towards a Brexit deal, according to a UK official.

    Fears remain high that the UK is heading for a no-deal exit with talks having so far failed to reach an agreement.

    Speaking to Politco's Playbook, one UK official said there had been "minimal progress", but added there was so far "no breakthrough".

  • Christy Cooney

    'DEAL STILL POSSIBLE', SAYS BARNIER

    A Brexit trade deal is still possible, the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier has said.

    Barnier was speaking as talks are set to resume after negotiators failed to overcome remaining sticking points last week.

    Arriving to brief EU ambassadors ahead of the talks today, he said: “We are going to give every chance to this agreement… which is still possible.

    “A good, balanced agreement.”

  • John Hall

    FROST TO REMAIN IN BRUSSELS 'A COUPLE MORE DAYS'

    The UK's chief Brexit negotiator David Frost will reportedly remain in Brussels at least another few days as talks continue.

    It comes with negotiations set to resume today after earlier talks failed to overcome remaining sticking points.

    There has been speculation that talks could continue until the days before the current transition period expires on December 31.

    Politico's Playbook reports that Frost is expected to remain in Brussels “at least a couple more days”.

  • John Hall

    CONTINUING TALKS THE 'RESPONSIBLE' THING TO DO

    Continuing negotiations to work towards a Brexit deal is the "responsible" thing to do, British and EU leaders have said.

    It comes after talks between Boris Johnson and EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen last week failed to overcome remaining disagreements.

    A joint statement from the pair yesterday read: "Our negotiating teams have been working day and night over recent days.

    "And despite the exhaustion after almost a year of negotiations, despite the fact that deadlines have been missed over and over we think it is responsible at this point to go the extra mile.

    "We have accordingly mandated our negotiators to continue the talks and to see whether an agreement can even at this late stage be reached."

  • John Hall

    BARNIER TO BRIEF AMBASSADORS

    Michel Barnier, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, is set to brief ambassadors from the bloc on the current state of the talks.

    It comes after British and EU leaders agreed to continue negotiations after the original deadline to reach a new trade deal passed without any being agreed.

    A tweet from Sebastian Fischer, an EU spokesman for Germany, which currently holds the bloc's presidency, read: "EU Chief negotiator Michel Barnier will brief EU Ambassadors tomorrow at 8.30 a.m. on the state of play of EU-UK negotiations.

    “Ambassadors will then review the situation.”

  • John Hall

    BORIS DOESN’T WANT TO WALK AWAY

    Britain and the European Union are still apart in Brexit trade talks but the PM does not want to walk away yet, Business Secretary Alok Sharma said.

    "We will continue discussing, we are of course apart on certain matters but as the prime minister said, we don't want to walk away from these talks," Sharma told Sky.

    "People expect us, businesses expect us in the UK to go the extra mile and that's precisely what we're doing.”

  • John Hall

    BREXIT TALKS COULD GO ON PAST CHRISTMAS

    With no cut-off date given for when the talks must wrap up, it leaves the door open for the wrangling to go on until December 31 – when the transitional arrangements are due to cease.

    Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg has still not published the dates for MPs' Christmas holiday, leaving those on the green benches braced to be called in to Westminster over the festive season to vote on a possible UK-EU trade deal.

    Former chief whip Mark Harper, speaking to BBC Radio 4's Westminster Hour, said: "It depends on when it is concluded, but many of us are fully anticipating it's entirely possible we might be returning to Parliament between Christmas and new year to scrutinise this and vote it through if a deal is done."

  • John Hall

    INDUSTRY SLASHES GROWTH FORECAST AHEAD OF BREXIT

    Manufacturers have slashed their forecast for growth next year with a "darkening picture" for exports ahead of the UK leaving the EU, according to a report.

    Make UK said if there is no trade agreement, the forecast may be revised given the potential for "significant damage" to manufacturing, with the motor vehicles sector especially fearful of the impact of any tariffs.

    The manufacturing organisation, and business advisory firm BDO, said their research also showed the "brutal impact" of the coronavirus crisis, with the sector forecast to see a 12 per cent drop in output this year.

    Make UK said it has substantially downgraded its growth forecasts for 2021 to just 2.7 per cent, down from 5.1 per cent last quarter.

    "In addition to the darkening picture for exports, the survey shows investment intentions have now been substantially negative for three quarters in a row, a trend which Make UK believes is likely to worsen in the event of the further political turmoil that 'no deal' will create," said the report.

  • John Hall

    BUSINESSMAN LEFT 'CONFUSED' OVER BREXIT TRADE TALKS

    Managing director of Anchor Storage, in Suffolk, Stephen Britt voted to leave the EU in the referendum but now says there is utter "confusion" over the talks.

    "We've long passed the time where we should have done a deal," he told the BBC.

    "Nobody knows where they are, it's utter confusion." He says that in any case though, many of his customers will have to adapt to new and more complex ways of moving goods between the UK and the EU.

  • John Hall

    FOOD INDUSTRY WARNS OF PRICE RISES IF NO DEAL BREXIT

    Ian Wright, the chief executive of the Food and Drink Federation, has warned prices could rise between five and 15 per cent if the UK left the EU without a deal.

    “I know some of our members are planning to send out new portfolio price lists to their customers this week to take account of tariffs,” he said.

    “Obviously they are conditional and assume there is no deal and that the tariff regime comes in in January.

    "Price rises driven by tariffs would start to appear in middle to late January as obviously anything already in the country by 1 January will not attract a tariff.”

  • John Hall

    TRADE DEAL TALKS WITH AUSTRALIA 'ADVANCING WELL'

    Trade talks with Australia are advancing well, Trade Minister Liz Truss said on Sunday.

    “Talks with Australia are advancing well,” Truss said in a statement to Reuters.

    “We’ve exchanged initial tariff offers and held detailed technical discussions on areas such as investment, professional business services and financial services.”

  • John Hall

    BORIS HAS SIMPLE CHOICE TO MAKE – FARAGE

    Nigel Farage has said Prime Minister Boris Johnson has a simple choice to make after the Brexit talks were extended.

    Writing in the Daily Express, the keen Brexit supporter said: "In three weeks time our post-EU membership transition period ends and the choice for our foreseeable future could not now be clearer, either we agree to the principles of the Withdrawal Agreement or we go for no deal."

    He added: "This is for Boris Johnson and the country the moment of truth. As referendum day approached in 2016, I coined a phrase, no deal is better than a bad deal.

    "It was an obvious statement of the truth then and it is crucially important now.

    "Four and a half agonising years of dither and delay needs to come to an abrupt end, there can be no further extensions. The EU’s objectives from day one have been crystal clear."

  • John Hall

    IRISH PM WELCOMES BREXIT TALKS EXTENSION

    Taoiseach Michael Martin has welcomed the decision to continue the talks, but warned of the urgency to reach a conclusion.

    Martin said: "It is extremely important and it is imperative that both sides to everything they possibly can to avoid a no-deal Brexit – because a no-deal Brexit would be very damaging all round to the United Kingdom economy, to the Irish economy, to the European Union economy, to workers and businesses who need certainty and who need clarity and I think it is good that they are continuing with the talks.

    "It is very important that they do everything they can to get a deal over the line."

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