No deal incoming: Gloomy Von der Leyen prepares MEPs for hard Brexit as deadline looms

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The top eurocrat said disputes over future common standards, including state aid rules, and policing the final agreement also continued. Raising hopes of a deal, she told the European Parliament many areas of the draft free trade agreement are starting to take shape. Mrs von der Leyen said: “These are decisive days for our negotiations with the United Kingdom. But, frankly I cannot tell you today if, in the end, there will be a deal.”

She said there had been “genuine progress” but not enough to produce a significant breakthrough in the wrangling between Michel Barnier and Lord Frost.

“There are still three issues that can make the difference between deal and no deal,” she added.

“The crucial topics for the European side are, of course, questions linked to the level playing field, governance and fisheries.

“With very little time ahead of us, we will do all in our power to reach an agreement, we’re ready to be creative.”

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