“Just a few hours” remain for London and Brussels to strike a Brexit trade deal, the EU’s chief negotiator has said.
Speaking to the European Parliament, Michel Barnier said it was the “moment of truth” for the two sides coming to a Brexit agreement by the end of the year.
“We have very little time remaining, just a few hours to work through these negotiations in a useful fashion if we want this agreement to enter into force on the first of January,” he said.
“There is a chance of getting an agreement but the path to such an agreement is very narrow.”
Mr Barnier added that the bloc would not sign a deal “at any price or any cost”.
“I cannot say what will come during this last home straight of negotiations,” he continued.
“We have to be prepared for all eventualities.”
Britain left the EU at the end of January and entered into an 11-month transition period, following EU rules and regulations whilst trying to negotiate a free trade deal by the end of this year.
The two teams have been attempting to thrash out an agreement ahead of the end of the transition, although negotiations have continued to remain stuck on a number of issues.
These include fishing rights and the so-called “level playing field” – measures to prevent what is seen as unfair competition through the lowering of standards or the use of state subsidies.
Mr Barnier’s comments come after Boris Johnson told European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen that the talks are now in “a serious situation” and that a no-deal outcome is “very likely” unless the EU changes its stance “substantially”.
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