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Thursday, August 5, 2021
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UK-EU negotiators making final push for post-Brexit deal

Brexit

Downing Street sources said they were speaking from time to time given there isn’t long left until the end of the Brexit transition but refused to confirm reports that they spoke fishing rights

Negotiators are making a “final push” to reach a post-Brexit trade deal, the European Union’s Michel Barnier has said.

Mr Barnier, who is leading the EU’s team in negotiations with the UK, said it was a “crucial moment” with the current trading arrangements due to end on December 31.

He was briefing ambassadors from the 27 EU countries and MEPs about the state of the talks as time runs short for a deal to be reached.

In a sign of the intensive diplomatic activity, Boris Johnson is in “close contact” with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen.

Downing Street sources said they were speaking “from time to time given there isn’t long left” until the end of the Brexit transition period next week.

But No 10 refused to confirm reports that they spoke on Monday about proposals to address the issue of fishing rights, one of the final remaining barriers to a deal.

Speaking to reporters in Brussels, Mr Barnier said: We are really in a crucial moment and we are giving it a final push. In 10 days, the UK will leave the single market.

Earlier, the European Parliament’s former Brexit co-ordinator, Guy Verhofstadt, said the queues of lorries in Kent were a sign of things to come.

France closed its border with the UK as a result of the new strain of coronavirus that is spreading rapidly across London and the South East.

In a tweet, Mr Verhofstadt said: We forgot what borders look like. Some thought they would remain open with or without the EU. They will now start to understand what leaving the EU really means.

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