Brexit deal WILL be done! Barnier says trade deal within sight in major breakthrough

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The UK formally left the European Union back in January and Prime Minister Boris Johnson has vowed to leave the EU by the end of the transition period, with or without a trade deal in place.

But negotiations are still ongoing with the deadline now being October.

Despite weeks of stalemate talks, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, has now expressed confidence a new deal with Britain is possible.

The EU’s negotiator told member state envoys to the bloc on Friday: “I remain confident that a balanced and sustainable deal remains possible, even if less ambitious.”

The Frenchman suggested his latest meeting with Mr Johnson left him feeling the Prime Minister wants a deal, despite businesses preparing for a no deal outcome.

Mr Barnier’s comments were echoed by envoys from Ireland and the Netherlands, both who will be most affected from any change in trade rules.

Both envoys called for calm and unity, sources say, claiming this strategy helped narrow the gaps on agreeing ways to settle disputes in the future.

Sources claim Mr Barnier said: “The level playing field is not for sale.”

Since the UK voted to leave the EU four years ago, there have been two key stumbling blocks within negotiations.

These are British fishing waters and the EU’s demand the UK ties itself closely to the bloc’s state aid, labour and environmental standards.

The EU claims it wants to ensure the UK does not undercut the EU’s single market with lower quality goods.

The bloc is urging for an agreement to be signed by October to allow plenty of time for ratification by the end of the year.

Under the controversial Commons Fisheries Policy (CFP), all member states are given access to EU waters via quotas.

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This has often been described as unfair due to the UK having a large coastal area.

Back in June, there was a breakthrough over fishing rights after Mr Barnier suggested the UK would be treated as an independent coastal state.

EU sources said the Frenchman is looking for a “whole trade deal” which relies heavily on fishing rights.

A senior EU diplomatic source said: “To dilute the influence of France and the other coastal states, Barnier needs to have the whole trade deal, which stands of falls on fishing.”

A UK Government source added: “There have been signals that this is an area where Mr Barnier wants to move, but as yet there are no firm proposals on the table.”

As negotiations continue to fail between both sides, the UK Government signalled it is willing to walk away from talks if the EU is deemed to be dragging its feet.

Mr Barnier insisted European leaders would not have to revisit his negotiating mandate as long as David Frost, the UK’s chief trade negotiator, made “concrete signals” that the UK is willing to meet the bloc in the middle ground.

“I’m ready to compromise,” he told a European trade union leaders conference in Brussel last month.

Despite optimism of an agreed deal by both Mr Johnson and the EU, businesses are preparing for a no deal outcome.

As the Brexit deadline looms nearer, concerns about the flow of goods across the border remains a main issue for manufacturers.

Steep levies could be imposed on goods if a free-trade agreement is not agreed.

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