Brussels: After months of quarreling, the EU and the UK launched the last round of trade talks on Monday, hoping to eliminate the fear of failure by agreeing on their blueprint for the future.
Britain left the European Union in January, but at the end of the 11-month transition period, the full economic impact of the divorce will be felt at the end of this year.
Britain dramatically shut the door on its 47-year membership of the EU after a 2016 referendum, ending a testy relationship marked by anti-EU euro-scepticism, especially among older voters.
Going forward, relations between Britain and Europe could be governed by a trade deal, but only if negotiations currently under way deliver, which is hardly guaranteed given still wide divergences.
Officials on both sides of the Channel are eying an EU leaders video summit on Thursday as the de facto last chance for a breakthrough.
This allowed negotiators Michel Barnier and David Frost to bridge the differences that had not changed since the negotiations began in March in just four days and two nights.
In turn, this may give the European Parliament enough time to approve the agreement at the end of the year.
“Logic and reason would all point to a deal,” said one EU diplomat with a close eye on the talks.
“But if anything became clear in the past three years, when it comes to Brexit, economic rationale and pure logic are not enough to explain what’s happening,” the diplomat said.