Although Britain technically left the EU on Jan 31, 2020, its relationship with the EU remains the same in practice until the end of the transition period on Dec 31.
As it stands, the Government does not have a deal. However, an agreement is possible if it can be reached by Sunday, Dec 20 – the new deadline set by MEPs.
Speaking to the European Parliament, EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said: “There is a chance of getting an agreement but the path to such an agreement is very narrow.”
Negotiations have settled issues like labour, the environment and the level playing field, but disagreements over fishing, subsidies and ‘lightning tariffs’ remain.
Nonetheless, MPs have been primed to vote for a possible Brexit trade deal at the beginning of next week and Boris Johnson has indicated he is prepared to postpone the parliamentary recess until Christmas Eve if a deal is agreed.
It has been reported that Boris Johnson will hold another phone call with Ursula von der Leyen in the next 48 hours to try and resolve the remaining issues.
The last deadline for talks was extended by a week, with Mrs von der Leyen stating both she and Mr Johnson felt it would be responsible to “go the extra mile” despite the “exhaustion” and missed deadlines.
Fishing remains a major obstacle to an agreement, and Mr Johnson signaled he is not prepared to meet EU demands despite European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen hinting it was the final hurdle.
Boris Johnson said: “There’s a good deal there to be done, but if not, WTO, Australia terms it is and as I say we will prosper mightily on those terms as well. We’ve just got to make sure that we control our laws and control our own waters.”
Mr Johnson’s attempts to negotiate directly with Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron were rebuffed three times in a week, prompting him to warn a no-deal outcome to Brexit talks is now “very, very likely”.