“Any opportunity to reach an agreement is welcome,” Merkel said. Asked if he would try to reach a trade deal until the last moment, Johnson told reporters, “Yes, of course.” The issue of bringing legislation closer together is that the EU believes that the UK complies with EU rules (product safety, environmental protection, workers` rights, subsidies, etc.). The United Kingdom says it will not do so.  The withdrawal agreement recognises that in Britain the standards will be different from those of the EU in many respects (with the loss of trade privileges in these areas), with Northern Ireland enjoying special status to keep the Irish border open. The EU`s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, told a meeting of Bloc ministers that he believed a non-agreement scenario by the end of the year was now more likely than an agreement on trade relations, an EU official and two diplomats from the Reuters news agency said. Both sides had said Sunday was the deadline to make a decision on whether to continue talks, with the UK leaving EU rules at the end of the month. But in view of the elections to Parliament, before they are hypothetically between an agreement or any agreement, it seems very likely that they will choose to support an agreement and continue. The heads of state and government agreed to divide the negotiators, to continue discussions in Brussels “to see if an agreement can be reached at this late stage.” Trade negotiations have been marked by fishing rights in British waters, the guarantee of fair competition for businesses on both sides and the possibility of resolving future disputes. Fishing rights are another important area of disagreement: the EU warns that British fishermen will no longer have access to EU markets to sell their products without access to British waters. Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin said that if there were no breakthrough “in a day or two,” EU heads of state and government are expected to discuss contingency plans for economic disruption in Brussels on Thursday and Friday. The delays were partly due to companies stockpiling goods if Britain and the European Union failed to reach an agreement. As the Christmas spirit that will still arrive, the ties were the harbinger of the even greater chaos that could erupt if both sides suddenly began to impose tariffs and other trade barriers.
For the British and European parliaments to ratify a trade deal in an orderly fashion before the Brexit transition period expires on New Year`s Eve, the two sides must agree by Sunday. The August round of negotiations ended on 21 August with “little progress.”   The EU`s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said there was little time left and said it was “unlikely” that an agreement could be reached.  Britain`s chief negotiator David Frost said: “An agreement is always possible, and that is still our goal, but it is clear that it will not be easy to achieve it. In a number of areas of future cooperation between the UK and the EU, substantial work is still needed if we are to implement them. We had some useful discussions this week, but there has been little progress.  Barnier questioned the sudden British surprise at the threat of the loss of interstate (and non-domestic) cabotage rights for British carriers, as this was an advantage of the internal market that the United Kingdom had left and never available to third countries.  An ambassador told me that there was hope that the agreement could be reached on Friday and that another diplomatic source confirmed that an agreement would be possible by the end of this week, indicating that the agreement is in fact concluded when “everything could still disintegrate”.