PUBLISHED: 08:00, Thu, Oct 29, 2020 | UPDATED: 11:18, Thu, Oct 29, 2020
The negotiators have made progress during talks in London this week towards resolving some of the biggest issues thus far, raising hopes a deal can be agreed by early November. Both sides have started work on the text of an agreement on the level playing field and are edging closer to finalising a joint document covering state aid. The UK and EU have also moved closer to deciding essential aspects of how any accord will be enforced. But significant differences still remain - particularly on the level playing field, enforcement and fishing - but the progress made over is an encouraging sign they are moving closer to breaking the deadlock following seven months of often bitter talks.
There has been a notable shift in mood and gears over recent days, with London and Brussels now working hard to finalise as many chapters of a potential agreement as possible.
But the threat of a major collapse in a Brexit deal still remains strong, with EU officials stressing they view any deal as a single agreement where nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.
Fishing remains a major stumbling block, with both sides still arguing over what rights EU boats will have to British waters and their share of the quota after Brexit.
France is one of a number of coastal states demanding continued access to waters between six and 12 miles off Britain’s coast - an agreement they benefitted from before Brexit.
Brexit latest: David Frost has rushed to Brussels for talks - but France has sent a brutal warning (Image: GETTY)
Negotiators believe if these issues continue to be a problem, it will require major and urgent political intervention from leaders Boris Johnson and Emmanuel Macron.
But France's Europe Minister has issued the UK with another brutal warning, insisting "there is no reason" to bow to demands from the British.
Clement Beaune told the Senate: “The face of Brexit will be the face of our fishermen, so we must be able to tell them that their interests were protected.
“There is no reason for us to give in to British pressure.”
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Brexit latest: David Frost and Michel Barnier are continuing talks in Brussels (Image: GETTY)
11am update: Merkel faces 'catastrophe': No deal Brexit to hit Germany harder than any other EU nation
If the UK fails to strike a trade deal with the EU before the end of the year, it will be a "catastrophe" for Germany, which will be harder hit than any other member of the EU27, a former MEP has said.
Hans-Olaf Henkel, who is also a former Federation of German Industries (BDI), said Germany's massive car industry would be dealt a huge blow, as would other key sectors - and warned Brussels against complacently assuming Brexit was merely a "British problem".
Mr Henkel was speaking after the publication of a report by credit insurer Euler Hermes, which puts the chances of a no-deal outcome at 45 percent.
The report suggests such an eventuality would jeopardise exports totalling €33billion - of which those from Germany would make up a quarter (€8.2billion), by far the highest figure in the bloc.
Brexit latest: A no-deal outcome would be a 'catastrophe' for Germany, a former MEP has said (Image: GETTY)
9.45am update: Furious Michael Gove hits back at Wales over calls for UK to DROP Brexit fishing demands
Michael Gove has hit back at Wales over calls for the UK to drop Brexit fishing demands.
The Cabinet Office minister has lashed out at demands to "back down" during Brexit negotiations as crucial talks move to Brussels this week in a final push to secure a deal with the EU.
Mr Gove has been told the UK government should be "flexible" when discussing issues on fishing rights and state aid.
In a letter to Jeremy Miles, Wales' Minister for European Transition, Mr Gove revealed Britain will not back down on demands to the EU over fisheries.
He wrote: "I am afraid we strongly disagree with your premise that we should `back down' on fisheries.
"The UK Government's view is that in all circumstances, the UK must be an independent coastal state, no longer be bound by the Common Fisheries Policy."
8.58am update: No 10's fury as Sturgeon 'refused' to hand over