Saturday, November 27

EU, UK to step up Brexit talks to try to close’significant gaps’ over trade deal

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“I think there’s a good deal to be done,” he said. “There’s a big opportunity for both sides to do well.”

More trade talks are due in London next week and in Brussels the following week before the 27 national EU leaders meet on Oct. 15-16 to assess progress. London has also said it wants clarity by Oct. 15 on whether a deal is possible or not.

An estimated trillion euros worth of annual trade would be at stake if they fail to get an agreement.

The EU says it will not implement any new deal if London undermines their earlier Brexit divorce treaty with its draft Internal Market Bill.

With time running out, controversy over the new domestic UK law backed by Johnson has cast fresh doubt on whether a deal was possible. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, however, said on Friday she was still “optimistic.”

The EU believes the British government is split between hawks like Johnson’s aide Dominic Cummings, the architect of the 2016 “Leave” campaign, and those Brussels sees as more moderate like Frost on whether to push for a deal or leave without one.

British foreign minister Dominic Raab, seen as part of the former faction, said separately on Saturday that the EU no longer had the power to treat Britain poorly.

“Yes, we want a free trade deal with the EU, but any deal must be fair. The days of being held over a barrel by Brussels are long gone,” Raab told the Conservative Party’s annual conference. (Additional reporting and writing by Gabriela Baczynska in Brussels, Editing by Giles Elgood, Christina Fincher and Hugh Lawson)