An EU official told Sky News that talks between the United Kingdom and the European Union on a post-Brexit trade agreement are in their “final stage”.
With the two sides trying to reach an agreement before the end of the transition period next week, sources in London and Brussels told Sky News Brixi The deal could be close.
“Michel Barnier and David Frost,” said Sam Coates, deputy political editor at Sky [the chief negotiators] They are locked up in a room in Brussels.
“It looks like they have reached a political agreement on how they want to manage Brexit issues, but it has turned into a legal text.
“This is an optimistic sign, as it suggests that the final process for this has approached.
But that does not mean that it is a finished deal in any way. Number 10 confirms that negotiations can completely collapse.
There have been suggestions that an announcement could be made early this evening, but that deadline appears to be delayed.
Sky Europe correspondent Michelle Clifford said there was a “sense of optimism” in Brussels, as an EU official told her, “We are in the final stage now.”
“There is no confirmation of this deal yet,” she said. “As we understand it, there are still differences over fishing and other issues.”
“But most optimistic we’ve heard this side of the channel sound for a very long time – in fact, not at all.”
The two sides set a deadline of mid-October to reach a trade agreement, with the expectation that it will take time to examine and vote on the final version.
Parliament needs to ratify a deal if it is agreed, but it is already over at Christmas.
However, Sky News was informed that MPs could be summoned on December 30 to approve any deal at the last minute.
Earlier, a senior EU diplomat told Reuters news agency that the temporary implementation of the agreement needed approval from member states because there was not enough time for the EU parliament to ratify the agreement.
The European Research Group of conservative pro-Brexit members of parliament, a group the prime minister wants to keep, said it would study any deal in detail and pass its ruling before Parliament meets again.
And it said in a statement that it would re-contract a so-called “star room” of legal experts to consider the terms of any deal.
Britain left the European Union at the end of January and entered an 11-month transition period, following EU rules and regulations as it tried to negotiate a free trade deal by the end of this year.
However, a number of sticking points emerged during the negotiations.
These include fishing rights and so-called “equal opportunity” – measures to prevent what is perceived as unfair competition through lower standards or the use of government subsidies.
Boris Johnson acknowledged that a no-deal Brexit “might be difficult at first,” but emphasized that the UK would “thrive strongly” under such a scenario if it were passed.
But opponents say leaving without an agreement and thus having to trade on WTO terms from Jan.1 would cause problems for businesses and raise prices for consumers.