EU says Brexit deal still ‘metres from the finish line’

BRUSSELS: The European Union and Britain have made better progress towards a trade deal in the last few days but there is still a lot of work to do for an agreement to be in place by the end-year deadline, the bloc’s chief executive said on Friday.

Diplomats briefed earlier by the EU’s executive, which is negotiating with Britain on behalf of the 27 member states, said Brussels and London remained at odds over fishing rights, fair competition guarantees and ways to solve future disputes.

However, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen sounded a more optimistic note on the last-ditch talks at a news conference, pointing to progress on the question of ensuring a level playing field for state aid.

“After difficult weeks with very, very slow progress, now we’ve seen in the last days better progress, more movement on important files. This is good,” she said.

“Within the frame of the level playing field, progress for example has been made with state aid, but there are still quite some metres to the finish line so there’s a lot of work to do.” - Reuters