European chief Brexit trade negotiator Michel Barnier has this morning told the EU27 ambassadors that progress has been made in the level playing field, which are governance and fishing quotas, which shows progress.
Mr Barnier also disclosed that he and his UK counterparts have progressed very close to a deal on enforcing the rules to ensure free and fair competition if the UK chose not to follow the EU’s rules in the future.
He then pointed out that the EU and the UK negotiators are finding it very difficult to reach agreement on future controls over state subsidies for industries. While another EU top official said there had been ‘backtracking’ by the British in the row over future access to our coastal waters for European boats.
Mr Barnier also told newsmen before the current meeting that a trade deal remains possible in the coming days, “We’ve only been negotiating for nine months, we’ve needed at least five years for all the previous agreements, we are going to give every chance to this agreement… which is still possible.
“A good, balanced agreement. That means two conditions which aren’t met yet. Free and fair competition… and an agreement which guarantees reciprocal access to markets and waters. And it’s on these points that we haven’t found the right balance with the British. So we keep working.”
UK Brexit chief negotiator David Frost and Michel Barnier are expected to meet again today as both sides believe strongly that a deal could emerge later this week if they’re able to put to rest their differences and focus on reality.