Why the Brexit trade talks are still far from over

Mr Gove has previously said that while the British government wanted an agreement with Brussels it was not going be

Boris Johnson set for make-or-break decision on Brexit talks

But Boris Johnson has stopped short of acting on his earlier threat to totally shut down negotiations if no deal was agreed by the summit - though his spokesperson argued that the European Union had "effectively ended" talks with their statement about not wanting to change their position.

At a Downing Street press conference to update journalists on the UK's progress in tackling COVID-19, Johnson said: "On where we are with our friends and partners in Europe, I think we have got to the stage alas where they don't seem to want to progress a free-trade deal".

Critics of Mr Johnson have highlighted that while his administration has been espousing the virtues of trading with Brussels on similar terms to Australia, the Commonwealth nation is in the process of attempting to negotiate better arrangements with the EU.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Europe's most powerful leader, said after the summit that compromise would be needed for a deal.

However, EU officials were not surprised by the tough rhetoric from Johnson, and talks are set to continue next week.

The 27 presidents and prime ministers had said in a joint statement that the United Kingdom would have to "make the necessary moves to make an agreement possible" - enraging the British side, who accused them of "an unusual approach to conducting a negotiation". On the status of the talks related to the trade agreement, Merkel said that there are bright and dark sides, and added: "In some aspects, things have gone well".

Chief negotiator Michel Barnier also proposed the meetings in London next week and the European Union confirmed he had planned to head to the British capital to intensify negotiations from Monday.

"I have concluded that we should get ready for January 1 with arrangements that are more like Australia's based on simple principles of global free trade", Johnson said.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted: "The EU continues to work for a deal, but not at any price".

Both sides insist they are ready for this - and would prefer it to having to accept a bad deal - but experts forecast severe economic disruption. Two said they judged the comments were aimed at Frost's domestic audience and two others said they might serve to harden the EU's position.

"From the outset, we were totally clear that we wanted nothing more complicated than a Canada-style relationship, based on friendship and free trade", he said.

"As planned, our negotiation team will go to London next week to intensify these negotiations", she said on Twitter.

The European call came after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson issued a warning about the possibility of withdrawing from the negotiations unless the results of the European summit pave the way for a breakthrough.

But many economists say it would be devastating for British businesses, which are already struggling with huge economic hits from the coronavirus pandemic. "This of course means that we (the EU), too, will need to make compromises".

The deadline to arrive at a deal is December 31 next, which is when the transition period ends.

Brussels in turn stresses that Britain's economy is far more integrated with the EU's than Canada's, and that its single market must be protected from backsliding on regulation or state aid in Britain.

Diplomats in recent days said there had been some movement from Britain, but not enough to warrant locking the negotiators into a so-called "diplomatic tunnel" to force the talks over the finish line.

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