European and British negotiators Michel Barnier and David Frost meet in London on Saturday to try to bridge the remaining differences in discussions on a post-Brexit agreement, now at a critical stage.
Michel Barnier arrived Saturday morning at the conference center where the discussions are to continue.
On his arrival in London on Friday, he said he would continue to work with "patience and determination".
"We are not far from the moment + Take it or leave it +" (take it or leave it), he said Friday morning during a meeting with the member states, according to comments reported by participants.
Mr Barnier repeated the line already advanced Thursday by the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen: it is impossible today to say whether an agreement is still attainable or not.
British side, David Frost believes an agreement "still possible".
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said "the likelihood of an agreement" depended on the EU, assuring that his country could "prosper" even without a trade treaty.
During a telephone exchange on Friday evening with his Irish counterpart Micheal Martin, Boris Johnson "underlined his commitment to reaching an agreement which respects the sovereignty of the United Kingdom", according to Downing Street.
The two heads of government "also reaffirmed the need to put the Good Friday Agreement (which ended three bloody decades between Catholic Republicans, supporters of the reunification of Ireland, and Protestant unionists attached to the keeping the province in the British Crown) and avoiding a physical border on the island of Ireland ".
There is very little time left in London and Brussels to agree on a text that would enter into force on January 1, when the United Kingdom, which officially left the EU on January 31, will stop applying. European standards.
Without an agreement by that date, the two parties risk a new economic shock, which would come on top of that caused by the coronavirus epidemic.
Discussions still stumble over the guarantees demanded of the British in terms of competition, the way to settle disputes in the future agreement and the access of European fishermen to British waters.
According to European sources, Michel Barnier has proposed that the EU return 15 to 18% of the total European quotas fished in British waters and symmetrically recover the quotas fished by the British in the Atlantic and in the Bay of Biscay.
© 2020 AFP