EU tells Britain a Brexit deal is 'within reach'

'Make up your mind on Brexit' - that was the message from the EU to Britain Wednesday (October 21).

It put the focus back on London to unlock difficult trade talks, as the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier said a deal can still be done despite recent fall-outs.

"I think, ladies and gentlemen, that despite the problems, an agreement is within reach if both sides are willing to work constructively, in a spirit of compromise."

The last week has seen frustration on both sides - they have each called on the other to negotiate and avoid a disruptive end to Brexit talks.

There appear to be three key issues - guaranteeing fishing rights and economic fair play, and agreeing ways to settle future trade disputes.

This week, London refused to continue full negotiations and said the EU must - quote - 'fundamentally change' its stance.

The bloc, however, sees this as a bluff by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and has even offered an olive branch by talking up UK sovereignty and the EU's openness to talks.

European Council President Charles Michel:

"Time is very short and we stand ready to negotiate 24/7, on all subjects, based on legal texts. So the UK has a big decision to make, it's their free and sovereign choice and we will always respect them, whatever choice they make. But their sovereign answer will determine the level of access to our internal market. This is just common sense."

Michel warned the 27 EU members were ready for an abrupt split without a new agreement to avoid tariffs or quotas.

Britain's current EU trading terms expire in 10 weeks, and uninterrupted commerce can no longer be guaranteed without a new treaty.

The bloc is ready to negotiate until mid-November, but must then ratify any deal in the European Parliament before time is up.

Video Transcript

- Make up your mind on Brexit, that was the message from the EU to Britain Wednesday. It put the focus back on London to unlock difficult trade talks, as the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier said a deal can still be done despite recent fallouts.

MICHEL BARNIER: [SPEAKING FRENCH]

INTERPRETER: I think, ladies and gentlemen, that despite the problems, an agreement is within reach if both sides are willing to work constructively in a spirit of compromise.

MICHEL BARNIER: [SPEAKING FRENCH]

- The last week has seen frustration on both sides. They have each called on the other to negotiate and avoid a disruptive end to Brexit talks. There appear to be three key issues-- guaranteeing fishing rights and economic fair play, and agreeing ways to settle future trade disputes. This week, London refused to continue full negotiations and said the EU must, quote, "Fundamentally change its stance."

The bloc, however, sees this as a bluff by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and has even offered an olive branch by talking up UK sovereignty and the EU's openness to talks. European Council President Charles Michel.

CHARLES MICHEL: The time is very short. And we stand ready to negotiate 24/7 on all subjects based on legal text, so the UK has a big decision to make. It's their free and sovereign choice. And we will always respect them, whatever choice they make. But that [INAUDIBLE] answer will determine their level of access to our internal market. This is just common sense.

- Michel warned the 27 EU members were ready for an abrupt split without a new agreement to avoid tariffs or quotas. Britain's current EU trading terms expire in 10 weeks, and uninterrupted commerce can no longer be guaranteed without a new treaty. The bloc is ready to negotiate until mid-November, but must then ratify any deal in the European parliament before time is up.