Number 10 calls for EU to provide 'realism' in Brexit talks

EU Chief Brexit Negotiator, Michel Barnier (centre) in Downing Street

EU Chief Brexit Negotiator, Michel Barnier (centre) in Downing Street ahead of a meeting with Prime Minister Boris Johnson. - Credit: PA

The UK has called for the European Union to show more “realism” in the negotiations on a post-Brexit trade deal as time runs out for a deal to be reached.

The comments come as the EU’s chief negotiator and his British counterpart Lord David Frost are continuing negotiations with just over six weeks to go until the end of the transition period.

The talks, which follow a similar round in London last week, come ahead of a European Council video summit on Thursday which has been touted as a deadline for a draft deal.

The EU's Michel Barnier tweeted on Monday morning: “With @Europarl_EN & all Member States, we remain determined, patient, respectful.

“We want our future cooperation to be open but fair in all areas.”

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But Number 10 has responded by calling for "realism" from the EU side.

The prime minister’s official spokesman said: “The negotiations have resumed in Brussels. The discussions will be based on our largely common draft treaty texts.

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“But significant differences do remain and key elements in the draft texts are not yet agreed.

“What we are working to do is seek solutions that fully respect UK sovereignty.

“Negotiators have been in contact almost every day since October 22 and they are continuing to work intensively to bridge the gaps that remain between us.

“But, although there has been some progress in recent days, there is much work to be done and time is now very short.

“So if we are to make further progress in the coming days, we need to see more realism from the EU on what it means for the UK to be an independent state.”

The issues which are still to be ironed out are thought to include the ongoing row over fishing rights, how any deal between the two parties would be governed, and the “level playing field” measures aimed at preventing unfair competition on issues including state subsidies.

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