The EU’s chief negotiator said the two sides would have to reach an agreement by October at the latest if the pact is to be properly implemented before the end of the transition period at the end of the year. The Frenchman said the process must be accelerated after Boris Johnson confirmed to the block that the UK will leave the EU’s single market and customs union on December 31. He told the European Policy Centre think-tank: “The real moment of truth will be in October, we will have to be ready to put a draft deal to the European Parliament and European Council if we want it ratified by the end of the year.”
Mr Barnier promised to find a “compromise” when he resumes talks with his British counterpart, David Frost, next week.
“I have enough trust to find a margin of flexibility,” he said.
But he insisted UK negotiators would also have to meet the bloc half way in brokering a deal between the two sides’ red lines.
Mr Barnier claimed he had shown “openness to work on the mix of parameters to find a compromise”.
He added: “If the UK sticks to its position there will be no discussion on fisheries and no discussion on trade.
“We are open to find compromise.”