The European Union said on Friday (December 18) there were just hours left to strike a Brexit trade deal while Britain called on the bloc to see sense as the two sides race to prevent a turbulent finale to the Brexit crisis at the end of the month.
Both sides are demanding the other compromise amid a flurry of often conflicting messages that, variously, a deal is possible, a deal is in serious trouble or that a deal is imminent.
Britain’s chief negotiator David Frost left the UK Mission to the EU in Brussels on Friday on his way to the talks.
Several hours after EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier told London that there were just hours left to navigate a narrow path towards a deal, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the British door was open but that the EU should see sense and compromise.
Britain formally left on January 31 after its 2016 referendum but since then, it has been in a transition period under which rules on trade, travel and business remain unchanged. That period ends on December 31.