Brexit: Barnier arrives in UK for face-to-face talks

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  • EU-UK post-Brexit trade talks

shareSharenocloseShare pagelinkCopy linkAbout sharingimage captionMichel Barnier was spotted travelling to London from Brussels on Friday night

The UK and EU will resume face-to-face Brexit trade talks in London this weekend, as negotiators race to reach a deal before a looming deadline.

It comes after EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier left a period of self-isolation after a colleague tested positive for Covid last week.

Ahead of travelling to the UK, he said the "same significant divergences persist" in negotiations.

After arriving, he said he would work with "patience and determination".

Earlier, Boris Johnson insisted the likelihood of a deal depended on the EU.

Speaking on Friday, the prime minister told reporters that "there's a deal there to be done if they want to do it".

But he added "substantial and important differences" remained between the two sides, with just over a month left before a December deadline.

Negotiators are striving to strike a deal to govern their trading relationship once the UK's post-Brexit transition period ends in January 2021.

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Talks have been continuing via video link for the past week or so, after the positive Covid-19 test in a member of Mr Barnier's team.

Mr Barnier travelled to London after briefing EU ambassadors and members of the European Parliament on talks.

"In line with Belgian rules, my team and I are no longer in quarantine. Physical negotiations can continue," he wrote on Twitter.

Ahead of in-person talks getting back under way, his UK counterpart Lord David Frost pledged to "do my utmost" see if a deal is possible.

"It is late, but a deal is still possible, and I will continue to talk until it's clear that it isn't," he tweeted on Friday.

He added that any deal would have to "fully respect UK sovereignty," including over fishing waters and a regime for subsidising businesses.

"An agreement on any other basis is not possible," he added.

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