Brexit: ‘Narrow path’ in view for trade deal – EU chief


A “narrow path” has opened up for the UK and EU to strike a post-Brexit trade deal, the president of the European Commission has said.

Ursula von der Leyen said the “next few days are going to be decisive”, with negotiators working “day and night” to reach an agreement.

She said negotiations over how a deal would be enforced are “largely being resolved”.

But she added talks over fishing rights are “still very difficult”.

Officials from both sides are continuing talks in Brussels, as they race to strike a deal before the UK stops following EU trading rules on 31 December.

Despite weeks of intensive talks, they have remained stuck over fishing rights and how far the UK should be able to depart from EU rules.

Updating the European Parliament on an EU leaders’ summit last week, Mrs von der Leyen said: “As things stand, I cannot tell you whether there will be a deal or not.

“But there is a path to an agreement now – the path may be very narrow, but it is there”.

She said that negotiators had agreed a “strong mechanism” to ensure neither side lowers their environmental or social standards, which was a “big step forwards”.

But she added differences remained over how to “future proof” rules in this area, although disagreements over how to enforce a deal “by now are largely being resolved”.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told his cabinet the UK still wanted a deal, but would not agree to one “at any cost”.

According to his spokesman, he also reiterated view to senior ministers that the talks are still “most likely” to end without an agreement.


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