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Brexit: EU-UK trade deal talks continue despite London's pessimism

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Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier, left, makes his way to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, in London, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020.
Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier, left, makes his way to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, in London, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020.   -   Copyright  Alberto Pezzali/Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
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The EU and the UK will resume discussions on a post-Brexit trade deal today despite London threatening to walk away from the talks.

Last week the British government said the talks were "finished" unless Brussels "fundamentally changes" its stance.

The UK's Brexit preparations minister Michael Gove on Monday met with European Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic. The EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier is also set to speak by phone to his British counterpart David Frost.

Despite last week's statement from Downing Street, senior officials in Brussels are cautiously optimistic over prospects for a deal.

“It’s hard to tell if the talks will gather momentum – we’ll see how today goes,” an EU source close to the negotiations told Euronews.

"It would seem pretty silly not to continue talking when there is a deal to be done and time is running out.

"But then we've seen plenty of silliness over the past four years.

"It’s possible to get this over the line, it just depends how Boris Johnson can sell it. But remember, Boris Johnson has said he’d be happy enough with no deal, and even though that is hugely irresponsible, he’d manage to sell it to his Brexiteer base.

'It doesn’t matter to a lot of them that businesses and livelihoods will be destroyed, his team are entirely ideological."

EU countries committed to continuing Brexit trade deal talks in conclusions from a summit in Brussels last week. But Frost was left "surprised" and "disappointed" after a pledge to "intensify" discussions was dropped from an earlier draft of the document.