'We can find compromises': French optimism over Brexit breakthrough

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By Shona Murray
French Secretary of State for European Affairs Clement Beaune
French Secretary of State for European Affairs Clement Beaune   -  Copyright  Credit: AFP

A post-Brexit trade deal between the EU and the UK is still possible if there is “compromise” on both sides, France's minister for Europe has told Euronews.

But Clement Beaune said the EU won’t give in on so-called level playing field issues in exchange for extra access to fish in UK waters.

The level playing field is a set of basic rules that ensure one side in a trade deal doesn't lower its standards in a bid to undercut or have an unfair advantage over the other.

“I would not trade one against the other we need a good solution on both,” he said.

“It’s nothing new, we want stable access to UK waters, we can discuss parameters but this is absolutely fundamental.

“And we need strong elements of level playing field because if we are to grant access to the UK to our internal market there has to be in return, a respect or compliance with some key rules which make our market work, So I think this is fair, this is known.

"But when you look at the substance of all these issues, level playing field, fisheries, we can find compromises; efforts on both sides."

Chances of a deal are still on a knife-edge as a hard deadline of Sunday for both sides to stop talking and make a final decision looms large.

European Commission president Ursula Von der Leyen and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson had a frank and discussion at dinner last night.

President von der Leyen's statement said the two sides "gained a clear understanding of each other's positions" but remain far apart.

The UK government said "very large gaps remain";

Both sides instructed negotiators to get back to the table with a last-ditch aim at resolving the outstanding issues.