London and Brussels face a make-or-break decision on an elusive trade agreement on Sunday, after a week of tension and deadlock that left a tumultuous ‘no deal’ exit for Britain from the European Union’s orbit on Dec. 31 looking more likely than not.
Negotiators have until the evening to resolve an impasse on arrangements that would guarantee Britain zero-tariff and zero-quota access to the EU’s single market, though talks could carry on if they miss the deadline.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the president of the EU’s executive Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, both said on Friday that a ‘no-deal’ was now the most likely outcome.
Negotiators met in Brussels on Saturday, and a British government source said they would press on through the night. But the talks were very difficult and “as things stand, the offer on the table from the EU remains unacceptable”. “The prime minister will leave no stone unturned in this process, but he is absolutely clear: any agreement must be fair and respect the fundamental position that the UK will be a sovereign nation in three weeks’ time,” the source said.