A Brexit trade deal with the EU is “still possible” even though it is “late”, the UK’s chief negotiator has said.
“Some people are asking me why we are still talking. My answer is that it’s my job to do my utmost to see if the conditions for a deal exist,” he said.
“It is late, but a deal is still possible, and I will continue to talk until it’s clear that it isn’t.”
But Lord Frost said “for a deal to be possible it must fully respect UK sovereignty”.
He added: “That is not just a word – it has practical consequences.
“That includes: controlling our borders; deciding ourselves on a robust and principled subsidy control system; and controlling our fishing waters.
“We look to reach an agreement on this basis, allowing the new beginning to our relationship with the EU which, for our part, we have always wanted.
“We will continue to work hard to get it – because an agreement on any other basis is not possible.”
Boris Johnson has said “substantial and important differences” remain between the two sides.
“The likelihood of a deal is very much determined by our friends and partners in the EU – there’s a deal there to be done if they want to do it,” the prime minister said.
Mr Barnier mirrored this, saying ahead of the discussions that “significant divergences” still remain.
The resumption of talks at a senior level comes after one of the EU negotiators tested positive for COVID-19.
Confidential notes seen by Sky News earlier this month revealed that EU officials think a deal is 95% agreed – but show the extent of anxiety over the potential impact if negotiations break down.
Britain left the EU at the end of January and entered into an 11-month transition period, following EU rules and regulations whilst trying to negotiate a free trade deal before 31 December.
The two teams have been attempting to thrash out an agreement ahead of that deadline, although negotiations have continued to remain stuck on issues such as so-called “level playing field” commitments and fisheries.
If an agreement is not struck, Number 10 has said the UK will end the transition period “on Australia terms” – meaning any trade the UK does with the EU being subject to tariffs and quotas. It would not be a free trade agreement.
The Office for Budget Responsibility said this week that failure to strike a deal could see a 2% hit to gross domestic product.
- Calm before the Brexit storm
- Theresa May offers cross-party talks as she survives attempt to oust her as PM
- May’s Brexit plans hit by new blows
- Theresa May tells MPs history will judge them on Brexit in last-ditch plea for support with 24 hours to go until Commons vote
- Brexit vote latest news: Labour expected to call for no confidence vote tomorrow if Theresa May deal defeated
- Brexit vote latest news: Theresa May warned by Cabinet ministers not to reach out to Labour MPs if her deal is crushed
- Brexit vote latest news: Theresa May faces Cabinet split over Plan B as she prepares for defeat
- Brexit vote latest news: Theresa May makes final appeal to save her deal
- Brexit vote latest news: Parliament votes on Theresa May's deal
- Brexit vote result: Theresa May defeated by record margin of 230 MPs as Jeremy Corbyn tables vote of no confidence
- Latest updates as MPs defeat Theresa May's Brexit deal by incredible margin
- Brexit latest news: Theresa May refuses to rule out extending Article 50 with PM on course to win no confidence vote
- Brexit Live: MPs debating confidence motion after May’s huge Commons defeat
- Brexit Live: Theresa May faces confidence motion after historic vote defeat
- Theresa May offers cross-party talks after surviving bid to oust her as PM
- Theresa May offers cross-party talks after surviving bid to oust her as prime minister
- The vote on May’s deal was less important than you might think
- Brexit latest news: Theresa May warns Jeremy Corbyn it is 'impossible' to rule out no deal
- Theresa May wins backing from MPs to renegotiate backstop as Brussels insist they won't re-open Brexit deal
- Theresa May wins backing from MPs to renegotiate backstop as Brussels insists it won't re-open Brexit deal
Brexit: Trade deal 'still possible', UK's chief negotiator says ahead of face-to-face talks have 808 words, post on news.sky.com at November 27, 2020. This is cached page on TechNews. If you want remove this page, please contact us.