A Brexit deal is still possible, the UK’s chief negotiator has insisted as face-to-face negotiations are set to resume with the clock ticking down to an agreement deadline.
But David Frost warned that a deal is only possible if Brussels recognised British sovereignty in key areas.
Mr Frost was speaking ahead of face-to-face talks, which he said would take place on Saturday.
He tweeted: “Some people are asking me why we are still talking. My answer is that it’s my job to do my utmost to see if the conditions for a deal exist. It is late, but a deal is still possible, and I will continue to talk until it’s clear that it isn’t.
“But for a deal to be possible it must fully respect UK sovereignty. That is not just a word – it has practical consequences. That includes: controlling our borders; deciding ourselves on a robust and principled subsidy control system; and controlling our fishing waters.
2/4 Some people are asking me why we are still talking. My answer is that it's my job to do my utmost to see if the conditions for a deal exist. It is late, but a deal is still possible, and I will continue to talk until it's clear that it isn’t.— David Frost (@DavidGHFrost) November 27, 2020
“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.”
The comments came after EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier warned that “significant divergences” still remain ahead of the UK exiting the Brexit transition period at the end of December.
In-person negotiations in Brussels were suspended a week ago after a member of Mr Barnier’s team contracted coronavirus.
But Mr Barnier has now said “physical negotiations” can resume.
He is briefing EU member states ahead of talks with Mr Frost as areas such as fishing rights remain major obstacles to a deal before the Brexit transition period expires at the end of next month.