EU’s Barnier Believes Deal With Post-Brexit Britain Is Possible: Sources

The European Union’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier expressed confidence at a closed-door meeting with member state envoys to the bloc last Friday that a new deal with Britain was possible, diplomatic sources have told Reuters.

His comments after the latest round of EU-UK negotiations contrast with his downbeat public assessment that London’s rigid positions on fisheries and the “level playing field” guarantees of fair competition meant a deal was unlikely for now.

More than four years after Britons voted in a referendum to leave the EU, and after tortuous divorce talks, the two sides are negotiating on all aspects of their ties, from trade to security, from 2021 onwards.

The two key stumbling blocks are access to British fishing waters and the EU’s demand that Britain tie itself closely to the bloc’s state aid, labour and environmental standards to ensure it does not undercut the EU’s single market with poor-quality goods.