Britain ‘will win 60 per cent of its objectives in an EU trade deal’, negotiator David Frost tells Tory MPs amid fears of deadlock
- UK talks chief is reported to have privately made the assurance to Tory MPs
- Talks ended last week with both sides playing down chances of a deal
- EU’s Barnier warned a trade deal was ‘unlikely’ and attacked Britain over fishing
Brexit negotiator David Frost has revealed that Britain is on course to achieve ’60 per cent’ of its objectives under an EU trade deal.
The UK’s chief negotiator is reported to have privately made the assurance to Tory MPs after a week of negotiations which appeared to pour cold water on chances of a deal before the end of the year.
On Thursday EU negotiator Michel Barnier warned a trade deal was ‘unlikely’ and lashed out at Britain over its hardline position on fishing rights in UK territorial waters.
But the Sunday Times reported today that No10 has a more upbeat assessment of talks.
A Tory source told the paper: ‘His (Frost’s) view seems to be that we will get a deal, but he doesn’t seem to be completely thrilled with what it is likely to be.
‘When people hear that we are getting 60 per cent of what we want, the question on everyone’s lips is: ”What is the 40 per cent we are giving away?”’
The UK’s chief negotiator is reported to have privately made the assurance to Tory MPs after a week of negotiations which appeared to pour cold water on chances of a deal before the end of the year
On Thursday EU negotiator Michel Barnier warned a trade deal was ‘unlikely’ and lashed out at Britain over its hardline position on fishing rights in UK territorial waters
Mr Barnier used a Thursday press conference at the end of four days of talks in London to warn that the EU would not accept a deal that resulted in the ‘partial destruction’ of the EU fishing industry, but would continue with talks to ‘the last moment’.
‘By its current refusal to commit to conditions of open and fair competition and to a balanced agreement on fisheries, the UK makes a trade agreement – at this point – unlikely,’ Mr Barnier said.
Speaking after this week’s round of negotiations in London, Barnier said there been no progress at all on the question of ensuring fairness on state aid.
‘The time for answers is quickly running out,’ he told a news conference, referring to the five months left before the end of Britain’s transition period since it formally left the EU at the end of January. ‘If we do not reach an agreement on our future partnership there will be more friction.’
Mr Frost, speaking the same day, admitted ‘considerable gaps’ remain between the two sides but help out hope for a deal to be struck after some concession in other areas of conflict.
But he confirmed the two sides remained at loggerheads over fishing rights in UK waters and the ‘level playing field’ on standards.
In a statement this morning Mr Frost said: ‘When the next round of negotiations begins there will be not much more than four months left until the end of the transition period.
‘Although we will continue energetically to seek an agreement with the EU, we must face the possibility that one will not be reached, and we must therefore continue preparing for all possible scenarios for the end of the transition period at the end of this year.
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