Post-Brexit talks enter crunch week with failure looming

Brussels: British and EU negotiators launched a desperate final stretch of trade talks Sunday, with both sides determined not to give ground, despite the looming threat of failure.

Britain's David Frost returned to meet his EU counterpart Michel Barnier after a shake-up in Number 10 personnel left some wondering if the London might soften its stance.

But there was no sign of that in the message that Prime Minister Boris Johnson's envoy tweeted as he headed back to Brussels.

"We are working to get a deal, but the only one that's possible is one that is compatible with our sovereignty and takes back control of our laws, our trade, and our waters," Frost said.

"That has been our consistent position from the start and I will not be changing it."

On Friday, Johnson's senior aide Dominic Cummings -- one of the architects of the "leave" victory in the 2016 Brexit referendum -- was sacked, amid faction fighting in Number 10, but there has been no sign this will change the direction of trade talks. 

Britain left the European Union in January, but the full economic effect of the bitter divorce will be felt at the end of the year when an 11-month transition period closes. – AFP rg