Dominic Raab insists 'there's a deal to be done' ahead of crucial Brexit deadline & demands 'flexibility' from Eurocrats

DOMINIC Raab has insisted there's "still a deal to be done" ahead of the crucial Brexit deadline at the end of the EU Council summit.

The Foreign Secretary told European bigwigs they need to be "flexible", saying he was "surprised by the disposition" of Eurocrats at the critical meeting of leaders due to wrap up today.


Boris Johnson laid out a hard deadline for negotiators to hash out a deal by the end of the EU Council summit today last month.

But Eurocrats' comments at the meeting fell short of what ministers were hoping for, and Britain's chief negotiator David Frost said he was "disappointed".

Mr Raab told BBC Radio 4: "We know that Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, in a call with the Prime Minister pledged to intesify talks.

"The European Council conclusions that came out this week didn't reflect that, they also suggested that all the future compromises must come from the UK.

"I have to say I'm a bit surprised by those conclusions."

The Foreign Secretary stressed that there's a deal to be done, but warned Eurocrats there needs to be "flexibility on both sides, energy and goodwill and political will on both sides."

Mr Raab said Europeans were still unwilling to move on the key hurdles of fishing rights in British waters and a level playing field over state aid rules still.

The Prime Minister is expected today to try and force Brussels' hand by ramping up preparations for a no deal at the end of the transition period on December 31.

Last month he vowed talks would not continue past the end of the EU Council meeting unless "significant progress" was being made.

And yesterday Lord Frost said he was “disappointed” after the gathering of the heads of the 27 EU member states provocatively refused the Prime Minister’s plea to intensify discussions.

They instead ordered No10 to compromise to secure free flowing trade after Brexit.

In a summit full of drama, Ms von der Leyen was swept from the summit after it emerged one of her staff members had tested positive for coronavirus.

The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier turned a blind eye to the orders and promised to “speed up” talks anyway, if Mr Johnson wants to carry on.

He proposed two more weeks of negotiations in London and Brussels, insisting there are “prospects of a deal”.

French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron laid out a hardline stance on fishing rights, insisting Britain would have to give way to French fisherman.

He threatened to block a deal if his “conditions” are not met.

Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney admitted the two sides remain “miles apart” on access to waters.

Eurocrats say a pact must be struck by the end of the first week of November so it can be signed off at an EU summit in Berlin on the 16th.

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