Hopes for a Brexit trade deal rise as the EU relies on Michel Barnier to move forward and Ursula von der Leyen is now interested in getting things clear, but # 10 warns of getting out of business Is "undervalued".
- Trade talks between the UK and the EU are ongoing but still stalled
- Ursula von der Leyen should now rely on Michel Barnier to get a deal
- No10 has warned that the likelihood of a no-deal split in the next month may be undervalued.
Ursula von der Leyen has started leaning on Michel Barnier to help secure a post-Brexit trade deal with the UK in the hopes that the outlines of an agreement could be in place by the end of the week.
Mr Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator, is involved in talks with UK counterpart Lord Frost, but formal discussions on a handful of crisis issues remain stalled.
However, Mrs von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, is said to be putting pressure on Mr Barnier to find a way out of the stalemate.
British sources said Ms. von der Leyen was now "quite helpful" and "interested in releasing things".
However, despite increased activity on the EU side, number 10 has indicated that the chances of the two sides separating without an agreement in the next month may be “undervalued”.
Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, has started to rely on Michel Barnier to secure a trade deal with the UK
Mr Barnier arrived in London on Friday to resume face-to-face talks with British counterpart Lord Frost
The post-Brexit transition phase is expected to end in December, but the path to a trade agreement remains blocked by three main issues: fishing rights, the so-called “level playing field” for rules and the future governance of the agreement.
Personal conversations between Mr Barnier and Lord Frost resumed yesterday after being suspended after a member of the EU team tested positive for coronavirus.
The last round of talks was billed as potentially the last round of talks as the time until the end of the transition period is up.
Mr Barnier's negotiating mandate is set by EU leaders, but the Sunday Times reported that Ms von der Leyen has started to rely on him to move forward and reach an agreement.
A senior British official told the newspaper: “Von der Leyen has been very helpful.
& # 39; She is interested in sharing things. Your team has been more involved lately which is helpful.
“We're not there on par with state aid yet, but we can see how we can get there. The problem is fish. & # 39;
As a sign of the growing involvement of the European Commission in the talks, Ms. von der Leyen has sent Stephanie Riso, one of its senior officials, to help Mr Barnier.
Ms. Riso was involved in the original Brexit divorce negotiations and is seen as someone who could help break the impasse.
It is believed that Boris Johnson could speak to Ms. von der Leyen for the next 48 hours to find a way forward on fishing rights, which is arguably the biggest remaining point of contention.
He could also speak to French President Emmanuel Macron, who firmly believes the EU should stick to its tough stance on this issue.
Both sides now believe that a possible deal will be in sight by the end of this week.
However, Number 10 has warned that there is still a "significant void" in the fisheries and that "no business is arguably undervalued".
Reports last week suggested that Mr Barnier recently said the EU could accept a 15-18 percent reduction in its share of fishing rights in UK waters, but UK officials immediately turned down the offer.
Boris Johnson is expected to speak to Ms. von der Leyen in the next 48 hours as both sides try to facilitate a breakthrough
A government source said: “These numbers are risky and the EU side knows full well that we would never accept this.
"The Commission does not seem to have managed to internalize the scale of the changes required if we are to become an independent nation."
The government has repeatedly stated that it is ready to leave the transition period without an agreement if the EU doesn't move.
A UK source close to the negotiations said: “In the coming days we will continue to negotiate with creativity and intensity.
“We hope that the EU will come up with new ideas because what we've seen so far doesn't cut off. You have to understand that we are not going to sell our sovereignty. & # 39;