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Face-to-face Brexit trade talks will resume in London this weekend, the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier has said.

In-person negotiations were suspended when Mr Barnier had to self-isolate after a colleague tested positive for Covid last week.

The Frenchman said the “same significant divergences persist” in negotiations.

Boris Johnson insisted the likelihood of a deal depended on the EU.

Speaking on Friday ahead of talks resuming, the prime minister told reporters that “there’s a deal there to be done if they want to do it”.

But he added “substantial and important differences” remained between the two sides, with just over a month left to finalise an agreement.

Negotiators are racing to strike a deal to govern their trading relationship once the UK’s post-Brexit transition period ends in January 2021.

Mr Barnier said he would travel to London on Friday evening, after briefing EU ambassadors and members of the European Parliament on talks.

“In line with Belgian rules, my team and I are no longer in quarantine. Physical negotiations can continue,” he wrote on Twitter.

Ahead of in-person talks getting back under way, his UK counterpart Lord David Frost pledged to “do my utmost” see if a deal is possible.

“It is late, but a deal is still possible, and I will continue to talk until it’s clear that it isn’t,” he tweeted on Friday.

He added that any deal would have to “fully respect UK sovereignty,” including over fishing waters and a regime for subsidising businesses.

“An agreement on any other basis is not possible,” he added.

Negotiations have been continuing via video link for the past week or so, after the positive Covid-19 test in a member of Mr Barnier’s team.

UK and EU try to keep their poker faces

Analysis by Nick Beake, BBC Brussels Correspondent

“The clock is ticking” quickly became one of the EU’s most popular maxims in its Brexit phrasebook.

It was first directed at Theresa May’s government in an attempt to spur them into action.

But now, with less than six weeks left for a trade deal to be agreed and ratified, the EU seems rather more sanguine about the passing of time.

It is determined not to be seen as rushing back to the negotiating table in London, once its negotiators emerge from their pre-cautionary self-isolation.

In fact, it was reported this week (and not denied) that Mr Barnier had told his opposite number that if the British weren’t prepared to budge, there was no point in him getting back on the Eurostar.

Few here in Brussels believe the EU would actually walk away at this stage, though. So for now, both sides try to keep their poker face as the deadline for a deal gets perilously near.

Asked about the chances of an agreement, Mr Johnson said the “likelihood of a deal is very much determined by our friends and partners in the EU”.

He added that a trade agreement would “benefit people on both sides of the Channel,” but insisted the UK could “prosper mightily” without one.

“Everybody’s working very hard – but clearly there are substantial and important differences to be bridged, but we’re getting on with it.”

Mr Barnier is also due to hold a video call with EU fishing ministers on Friday – but EU sources denied a suggestion the meeting was “urgent”.

They claimed it was the latest, regular update to ministers from the member states who are responsible for fishing.

Sticking points

The UK left the EU on 31 January, but it is continuing to follow the bloc’s rules until the end of the year as part of an 11-month transition period.

If a trade deal is not agreed by then, trading between the two will default to World Trade Organization (WTO) rules meaning tariffs will be introduced, and costs on products could rise.

Fishing has been a major flashpoint in the talks, along with post-Brexit competition rules and how any deal would be enforced.

The two sides are also at odds over how closely the UK should have to follow the EU’s social, labour, and environmental standards after the transition.

They are also haggling over how any rules in this area – including on “state aid” support for businesses – would be enforced as part of the agreement.