EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier has said that “much remains to be done” to broker a post-Brexit trade deal as negotiations continued in Brussels.
He said on Friday they are working hard to get an agreement but that there were still significant gaps after seven days of “intensive negotiations” in London.
Talks with his Downing Street counterpart, Lord Frost, resumed in the Belgian capital on Thursday as they try to get a deal in place for the end of the transition period on December 31.
Currently the UK remains a member of the single market and continues to follow EU rules, but businesses will face high tariffs to trade if there is no deal at the end of the transition.
Mr Barnier tweeted: “Working hard for an agreement.
“Much remains to be done.”
On Monday, No 10 warned that “time is very short” to bridge the “significant” gaps between the two sides.
The main obstacles to overcome remain fishing rights and the “level playing field” rules to ensure fair competition and governance arrangements.
The European economy grew by an unexpectedly large 12.7% in the third quarter as companies reopened after severe coronavirus lockdowns, but the rebound is being overshadowed by worries that growing numbers of infections will cause a new downturn in the final months of the year.
The upturn in the July-September quarter — and the worries about what lies ahead — echoed the situation in the US, where reopenings led to strong third-quarter recovery but did not dispel fears for the winter months.
The European rebound was the largest increase since statistics started in 1995. It followed an 11.8% contraction in the second quarter in the 19 European Union member countries that use the euro currency.
The April-June period was when restrictions on activities and gatherings were most severe during the first wave of the pandemic.
Many economists had expected a rebound of around 10%.
The rebound was led by France, with an enormous 18.2%, followed by Spain with 16.7% and Italy with 16.1%.