Brexit: Just a few hours left to strike trade deal, Barnier warns

Brexit: Just A Few Hours Left To Strike Trade Deal, Barnier Warns
Michel Barnier said there is a chance of getting a deal in time for the end of the transition period on December 31st. Photo: PA
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By Sam Blewett, PA Political Correspondent

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier has warned there are “just a few hours” left to strike a post-Brexit trade deal with the UK, as the two sides stand at the “moment of truth”.

As talks resumed on Friday, Mr Barnier said that there is a chance of getting a deal in time for the end of the transition period on December 31st, but said the path to a breakthrough is “very narrow”.


His warning came after Boris Johnson told European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen that the EU must “significantly” shift its stance on fishing, for an agreement, as the brinkmanship continued.


The EU set the latest deadline that an agreement must be ready by Sunday night in order to have enough time for MEPs to ratify it, while the House of Commons has been warned it may need to to hastily return from Christmas recess to vote on a deal.

“It’s the moment of truth,” Mr Barnier told the European Parliament in Brussels.

“We have very little time remaining, just a few hours, to work through these negotiations in useful fashion if we want this agreement to enter into force on January 1st.


“There is a chance of getting an agreement but the path to such an agreement is very narrow.”

He said he was being “frank with you and open and sincere” when he said that he was unable to say what the result will be from the “last home straight of negotiations”.

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