03:14 GMT19 January 2021
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    The 11-month transition period that followed the UK's departure from the European Union is set to end on 31 December, which could leave London without a trade deal with the bloc if the sides fail to agree on the matter within the next month.

    Following a closed-door briefing by the European Commission's chief negotiator with the UK, Michel Barnier, 27 EU envoys were warned that there were "only a few days left" for deal with the UK, according to Reuters.

    An EU diplomat shared after the meeting with EU's chief Brexit negotiator that "without London taking the necessary decisions quickly, reaching a deal will be all but impossible. Time is running out quickly. There are only a few days left for further negotiations".

    "The gaps on level playing field, governance and fisheries remain large", the diplomat added.

    According to the report, EU ambassadors have greenlighted Barnier's approach to negotiations with London and were in support of the Brexit deal, although "not at any price".

    Stalemate in Talks Persists

    Barnier is now heading to London amid a lack of progress in negotiations, as all previous trade agreements with the UK are set to expire on 31 December.

    UK's Chief negotiator David Frost tweeted on Friday that he was looking forward to resume face-to-face talks with Barnier on 28 November, but added that "for a deal to be possible it must respect UK sovereignty". 

    "We look to reach an agreement on this basis, allowing the new beginning to our relationship with the EU which, for our part, we have always wanted.  We will continue to work hard to get it – because an agreement on any other basis is not possible," Frost said. 

    ​The UK officially left the bloc in January this year to enter an 11-month transition period during which officials in London and Brussels were set to decide on the future of their relations. However, the sides have failed to agree so far on some major issues, including fishing quotas, UK exporting standards and a "level playing field' in bilateral trade.

    The EU vowed last week to remain "creative" in its final stage of talks with Britain, signalling optimism in reaching the deal prior to the expiration of the transition period. 

    On Friday, RTE reported that Barnier would offer the UK between 15% and 18% of the value of the fish quota caught by EU vessels in British waters under "any free trade deal" amid disagreements over access to lucrative fields. 

    European Union's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier wearing a face mask walks to Brexit trade negotiations in London, Britain, November 11, 2020
    © REUTERS / TOBY MELVILLE
    European Union's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier wearing a face mask walks to Brexit trade negotiations in London, Britain, November 11, 2020

    This week, EU's Brexit chief negotiator Barnier warned his British counterpart David Frost that he was prepared to pull out of further negotiations if the UK was not ready to make compromises on key issues.

    Later on 27 November, after a week of remote video conferences following his COVID-19 quarantine, Barnier underlined that the "same significant divergences persist" in the talks with UK.

    According to UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, although there was still a chance that the agreement with the European Union would be reached in the near future with "a constructive attitude and goodwill on all sides", Britain was not ready to be "stretching for a deal at any cost" and sacrifice its interests.

    Tags:
    Rishi Sunak, David Frost, Michel Barnier, European Union, United Kingdom
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