There is a path to a Brexit deal, says EU

A Brexit trade deal can still be done.

That was the assessment of European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday (December 16).

Britain and the EU are in the final part of talks to keep around one trillion dollars of annual trade free of tariffs and quotas beyond December 31.

On that date, the UK finally transitions out of the world's largest trading bloc.

"As things stand I cannot tell you whether there will be a deal or not but I can tell you there is a path to an agreement now. The path may be very narrow but it is there and it is therefore our responsibility to continue trying."

When asked about von der Leyen's optimistic tone, one UK official said - quote - "we've made some progress, but we are still very far apart in key areas. Still not there."

Sticking points still include access to UK fishing waters and how to ensure a level playing field for competition.

In parliament Wednesday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tried to sound hopeful though:

"There's every opportunity notwithstanding the slight error of, uncharacteristic error of gloom from the right honourable gentleman, every opportunity that, every hope I have that our friends and partners across the channel will will see sense and do a deal."

For now there's still no clarity on when talks will have to conclude.

But von der Leyen says the coming few days will be decisive.