Michel Barnier cancels Brexit briefing with EU envoys due to 'ongoing intensive negotiations'

Michel Barnier arrives in London

The EU's Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier (left), arriving in London from the Eurostar - Credit: Aaron Chown/ PA

Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier has cancelled a Brexit briefing with national envoys because of "ongoing intensive negotiations in London", a spokesman for the bloc confirmed.

Barnier has binned a Friday briefing for national envoys to the bloc in the latest sign both sides could be nearing a trade deal.

Hopes for an agreement had been dashed on Thursday after a Downing Street officials said chances of a deal were "receding" following last-minute demands by EU negotiators.

Downing Street has said talks "are at a difficult point" while Germany has said it does not want a Brexit deal "at any price".

Barnier had been expected to return to Brussels on Friday with the intention of coming back to London to continue negotiations over the weekend. 

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Both sides remain locked in heated talks over fishing rights in UK waters and the so-called "level playing field" provisions.

The deadline for a deal is looming. The Brexit transition period is due to end on December 31, giving both sides little time to get a deal agreed by negotiators and approved by the EU’s leaders, Westminster and the European parliament.

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