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Boris Johnson’s Brexit deadline of October 15 runs out tomorrow, but both sides have not been able to come to an agreement so far. The UK and the EU are likely to continue talks to try to thrash out an agreement.
ITV’s political editor has suggested the Prime Minister and the EU are “quite close” to coming to a free trade agreement.
Mr Peston wrote on Twitter: “The odds of a UK/EU free trade agreement are – in my estimation – quite close to 100 percent.
“Though I don’t suppose anyone will admit to that.
“The outstanding issues (how often the fishing quota is renegotiated, enforcement mechanisms for state aid limits) are so conspicuously amenable to compromise, that it would be quite an achievement to muck it up.
“They said, we live in an Age of Incompetence, so I guess anything is possible.”
The Prime Minister and the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen were set to hold crucial talks tonight.
Mr Johnson has spoken to both EU Presidents in recent days as the deadline he set for a trade deal to be agreed with the bloc approaches.
Last month, the Prime Minister gave the EU until October 15 to secure a post-Brexit trade deal with the UK.
This deadline would allow time for both parliaments to ratify an agreement before the end of the transition period in December.
However, the two parties have struggled to come to an agreement over key issues like fisheries and chances of a no deal scenario remain very high.
Fishing rights have been one of the main issues in discussions.
Under the controversial Commons Fisheries Policy (CFP), all member states are given access to EU waters via quotas.
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As the UK has a large coastal area, critics have often argued the system is unfair.
As the deadline looms closer, the Prime Minister has been urged to walk away from Brexit negotiations if no deal has been agreed by the end of the week.
Earlier this week, the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier suggested the deadline will not be adhered to.
Mr Barnier told EU ambassadors the talks will likely continue past Thursday’s deadline and does not believe the UK will pull out of the talks if an agreement is not reached.
Trade talks are likely to continue until the end of the month, rather than stopping on October 15, insiders believe.
The European Parliament has said it could ratify an agreement if one arrived before November.
Yesterday, Europe minister Michael Roth warned the UK is at a “crucial stage” of the negotiations and “time is running out”.
Speaking ahead of a meeting of EU ministers in Luxembourg, he said: “Frankly speaking, we are at a critical stage of the negotiations.
“We are extremely under pressure, time is running out, that’s we expect substantial progress by our friends in the UK in key areas, in particular governance, the level playing field and fisheries.
“We are well prepared for both scenarios, everybody should know that. No deal is the worst case scenario, not just for the European Union but also for the UK, but we are prepared for that.
“We are working very hard on a good deal, on a sustainable deal, which is acceptable for both sides.”
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