The EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier was due to arrive in London on Friday evening for more talks on a trade deal between the Union and the UK ahead of Britain’s final departure from the European Union on December 31.

However, he told reporters that the “same significant divergences persist” between the two sides, while UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the burden of the next move on the EU, saying “there’s a deal to be done if they want to do it.” To drive his point home, he added that the “likelihood of a deal is very much determined by our friends and partners in the EU”.

The UK’s negotiator, Lord Frost, was cool about the chances. “It is late, but a deal is still possible,” he said, adding: “I will continue to talk until it’s clear there isn’t.”

The three sticking points are the same as they were months ago: fisheries, the ‘level playing field’ for state subsidies, and mechanisms for dealing with disputes.

See related article:

FILE PHOTO: Frost and Barnier during a previous meeting Reuters