Almost out of time: Will last gasp Brexit negotiations bear fruit this weekend?

European Commission's Head of Task Force for Relations with the United Kingdom Michel Barnier
European Commission's Head of Task Force for Relations with the United Kingdom Michel Barnier Copyright Francisco Seco/AP
Copyright Francisco Seco/AP
By Shona Murray
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A source close to the talks has told Euronews that it comes down to UK PM Boris Johnson now.


A political intervention from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is needed to break the deadlock in the EU-UK negotiations, a source close to the talks told Euronews on Friday.

"It really comes down to a political calculation by Boris Johnson. Is he better off getting a deal done or can he hide the consequences of a No-deal behind COVID and then blame them on the EU," the source said.

EU negotiator Michel Barnier is travelling to London for further discussions over the weekend and into next week.

Britain's chief negotiator David Frost said on Friday that a deal was still possible and that he would "continue to talk until it's clear that it isn’t [possible]."

But several sources say there is very little left to do in terms of concessions.

"We are almost there in terms of the technical work and the legal text; there’s very little meat left on the bone to negotiate," said another source.

As the talks drags on, the fear now is that there will not be enough time left for the ratification process to take place.

EU sources say the very last date for talks to conclude is around Friday December 4 in order for member states and the European Parliament to ratify it.

Any deal will have to be translated into each member states’ language, and scrutinised by governments, and possibly parliaments.

The European Parliament will also have to analyse and vote on the deal too.

The process has to be complete for the new trading regime to be in place by January 1, when the transition period comes to an end.

Brussels says it is determined to work to this deadline in order to avoid a complicated "bridging situation" that would have to be constructed if talks drag on.

Of the outstanding issues — fisheries, level playing field and governance — there has been little or no progress on fisheries.

"UK want to see a massive change in fisheries – they want to block 90 per cent access to EU trawlers, that’s fine but we won’t be able to give them full access to the single market," a source said.

"Next week has to be a big week, it has to be a week of decision-making by Boris Johnson, we are almost truly out of time," they said.

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