Dominic Raab hints at Brexit extension as EU and Britain declare new Sunday deadline
- Credit: Twitter
Brexit trade talks could continue beyond the newly-agreed Sunday deadline, foreign secretary Dominic Raab has hinted.
Raab was reticent to confirm Sunday's deadline as a final cut-off, saying that "you can never say never" with EU negotiations.
His comment came as Boris Johnson and EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen agreed to scrap Thursday's deadline in favour of a four day extension during a last-minute meeting in Brussels on Wednesday.
Negotiators will now continue talks in the EU capital but hopes of a deal remain subdued after both leaders warned "very large gaps" remained over issues such as the so-called level playing field, fisheries, and the role of the European Court of Justice.
Discussing the new timeline on Sky News, Raab said: "We need some point of finality so we can give some certainty so [businesses] know which set of rules and which approaches and declarations they need to adhere to.
"That's why Sunday, I think, is an important moment but you can never say never with these talks."
Asked if Sunday was in fact a "hard deadline", Raab added: "I think we view it as a point of finality but I'm a bit reticent ever to say it because you can never say never with these EU negotiations and of course it depends on if the EU moves.
- 1 Russell Kane: Why working class people like Boris Johnson
- 2 The biggest scandal may be that no rules were broken
- 3 BBC journalist admits being 'haunted' by fear broadcaster 'built up' Nigel Farage and UKIP
- 4 Welsh government takes Westminster to court over post-Brexit bill
- 5 A chapter is over for Britain, for good or ill
- 6 Alan Duncan should have spoken out sooner about Boris Johnson
- 7 Ulster Unionism's crisis of faith
- 8 Prosecution threat for Tories' co-chairman
- 9 EU president faces fresh calls to resign over 'disastrous' Covid vaccine programme
- 10 The only Brexit export boom is from UK businesses rushing to Europe
"If the EU moves substantially and actually what we're doing is dotting the i's and crossing the t's, that might be different.
"But without movement on the three areas I described then I think that will be a point of finality."
This is the third time both sides have agreed to push back the deadline after the dates set in October and mid-November lapsed without progress on a deal.
Thursday had been seen as a "solid" end as it coincided with an EU summit that would have allowed leaders from all 27 EU member states to "rubber stamp" a deal.
Britain will be forced to trade on World Trade Organisation terms with Europe if an agreement is not reached by the end of the Brexit transition period of December 31.
Become a Supporter
The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.