BRITAIN and Brussels will next week begin two weeks of intense secret trade talks dubbed “Le Submarine” after a major breakthrough.
Boris Johnson is to virtually meet EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen tomorrow to hammer out terms for the negotiations after both sides gave concessions on fishing and red tape.
It comes after the UK offered a three-year transition on EU access to our waters.
Brussels is said to have eased some of its “more outrageous demands” on binding the UK to post-Brexit rules on state aid.
Ms von der Leyen said there were still concerns about the so-called “level playing field rules” designed to stop Brexit Britain undercutting the EU.
But she added: “Where there is a will there is a way. We should intensify negotiations because it’s worth working hard on it.”
German leader Angela Merkel said a recent UK-Norway deal on fishing gave fresh hope of similar agreement with Brussels.
She said it “shows that one can find ways to come to an agreement”.
Mr Johnson said it was “up to our friends and partners” in the EU to avoid a No Deal.
He said: “They’ve done a deal with Canada of a kind we want, why shouldn’t they do it with us? We’re so near.”
Britain’s chief Brexit negotiator Lord Frost, who has held regular talks with his EU counterpart Michel Barnier, was more downbeat.
He said “outlines” of a deal were “visible” but “familiar differences” were still to be overcome.
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