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Minister claims Britain 'not asking for anything miraculous' from EU amid Brexit impasse

George Martin
·3-min read

Watch: Brexit trade talks could be extended in order to reach a deal, minister claims

A government minister has claimed Britain is “not asking for anything miraculous” from the EU as the deadline to strike a Brexit deal looms.

The two negotiating teams are set to meet again on Monday to try and reach an agreement, with differences still remaining on a number of crucial policy areas.

But George Eustice, the environment secretary, said on Sunday that “it should be possible” to strike a deal before the transition period finishes on December 31.

He claimed “a lot of text has been drafted” for a possible UK-EU trade deal and said the British government is “not asking for anything miraculous” from Brussels.

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier (L) wearing a face mask because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, is followed down a street by Anti-Brexit activists as talks continue between the EU and the UK in London on November 13, 2020. - The European Union and Britain said major divergences remain but that post-Brexit negotiations would continue this week to clinch a trade deal in the scant time left. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)
EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier travelled to London for talks this week. (Getty)

"The prime minister last week said that we really needed to re-energise and the EU needed to focus and refresh their mandate in the final weeks because yes on many areas progress has been made and agreement exists,” Eustice told the BBC on Sunday.

"A lot of text has been drafted. There are these sticking points around fisheries, around state aid rules. They can be resolved.

"We're not asking for anything miraculous. We're really asking for what other countries like Norway and Canada already have and so it should be possible to reach that agreement."

Read more: Ireland says breakthrough needed in Brexit talks this week

Eustice added that next week is "a week when things need to move" for the UK and EU to agree to a trade deal.

"Both sides recognise that time is very, very short. It's not long ago we were saying we needed to get some kind of conclusion by the middle of October," he said.

"People have persevered with these talks. There does come a point frankly where businesses need to know what they are preparing for.

Britain's chief Brexit negotiator David Frost arrives in Downing street on November 13, 2020. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Britain's chief Brexit negotiator David Frost has said he remains hopeful a deal can be agreed. (Getty)

"You can always squeeze out extra time if you need to, if you're nearly there.

It comes as the UK's chief Brexit negotiator Lord David Frost said that a trade deal with the EU may not succeed but he is still hopeful of a resolution.

He tweeted: "Arriving once again in Brussels shortly for another round of negotiations with EU and Michel Barnier this afternoon. I and our British team have been in talks almost every day since 22 October.

"We are working to get a deal, but the only one that's possible is one that is compatible with our sovereignty and takes back control of our laws, our trade, and our waters. That has been our consistent position from the start and I will not be changing it.

"There has been some progress in a positive direction in recent days. We also now largely have common draft treaty texts, though significant elements are of course not yet agreed. We will work to build on these and get an overall agreement if we can.

"But we may not succeed. Either way, as the Prime Minister BorisJohnson made clear on 16 October, people and businesses must prepare for the change that is coming on 31 December, most of which happens whether there is a deal or not."