Boris Johnson will demand that the increasingly isolated French president, Emmanuel Macron, caves in to UK demands on fishing as the price for a trade and security deal at a key meeting with the European commission president on Saturday.



Boris Johnson wearing a hat and glasses: Photograph: Reuters


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Photograph: Reuters

The prime minister will speak to Ursula von der Leyen on Saturday afternoon in a video-conference call to “take stock of negotiations and discuss next steps”.

Johnson said he was “pretty optimistic” a Brexit deal could be reached. The prime minister told the Daily Telegraph the prospects of securing a deal by the end of the year to avoid an abrupt separation “are very good if everybody just exercises some common sense and looks at the deal that is there to be done”.



Boris Johnson wearing a hat and glasses: Boris Johnson, seen here during a visit to Grimsby fish market in December, hopes to win concessions on fisheries in trade negotiations with the EU.


© Photograph: Reuters
Boris Johnson, seen here during a visit to Grimsby fish market in December, hopes to win concessions on fisheries in trade negotiations with the EU.

Johnson will feel strengthened by comments from the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, on Friday, when she described the fisheries deal struck by Britain with Norway this week as a “constructive indicator”.

British officials argue that Norway, a non-EU member state, which conducts annual negotiations with the bloc on fishing quotas, should be the model for a post-Brexit deal on shared stocks.

“I don’t think that’s a bad message at all for us, I think it is rather one that shows that one can find ways to come to an agreement,” Merkel said of the agreement between London and Oslo.

Von der Leyen said on Friday that the most contentious issues, including fisheries and the control of domestic subsidies, remained “completely open”. The EU now expects a deal to materialise only in late October or early November.

In a statement, the UK’s chief negotiator,

By Gabriela Baczynska and John Chalmers

BRUSSELS, Oct 1 (Reuters)British and EU trade negotiators have failed to close the gap on state aid, a key element barring their new agreement on post-Brexit trade ties, officials and diplomatic sources with the bloc said as 27 national leaders gather in Brussels on Thursday.

The two-day summit in Brussels is due to deal with foreign policy but chairman Charles Michel and the bloc’s executive will also on Friday give their latest assessment on Brexit.

Disagreements over corporate subsidies, fisheries and ways to solve disputes have overshadowed trade talks, while a proposed UK law that would undermine its earlier divorce deal with the bloc triggered a new crisis last month.

Britain’s lower house of parliament approved the Internal Market Bill on Tuesday and it is now with the House of Lords. Britain say ensuring that its nations can trade freely with each other after Brexit would require breaking the divorce deal provisions on the sensitive Irish border.

The executive European Commission, which negotiates with Britain on behalf of all the bloc’s members, wants London to agree to broad state aid rules that would be compatible with those the EU has.

The bloc wants an independent British regulator to decide on state aid there, as well as seeks a new EU-UK dispute settling mechanism that would create a new Joint Committee and an Arbitration Panel to adjudicate.

Should one side fail to honour decisions made through that process, the Arbitration Panel could impose fines and the other side could retaliate by hitting bilateral trade elsewhere.

“The problem is that the UK doesn’t want to follow that path,” an EU diplomat following Brexit told Reuters.

An EU official, who is involved in the talks, echoed that: “It remains to be seen if the