The European Union must be more realistic if a trade deal is to be reached with the UK.

David Frost, the government's Brexit negotiator has said the bloc needs to show "realism" and understand the UK's position as an independent country.

He made the remarks as the eighth round of trade talks begin tomorrow, where he will meet again with EU negotiator Michel Barnier. 

So far the talks have made little progress on key areas such as fisheries, with both sides unable to reach agreements on fishing quotas or trade between the UK and EU. 

Last week Scottish fishing organisations told MPs of the damage the cornavirus pandemic had had on fishing, with shellfish particularly badly affected. They also warned that a 'double whammy' of a no-deal Brexit and a winter coronavirus surge could make the industry no longer viable. 

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Speaking ahead of the talks tomorrow, Mr Frost said: "I will sit down with Michel Barnier and drive home our clear message that we must make progress this week if we are to reach an agreement in time.

“We have now been talking for six months and can no longer afford to go over well-trodden ground. We need to see more realism from the EU about our status as an independent country.

“As we have done from the beginning in public and in private, I will reinforce our simple, reasonable request for a free trade agreement based on those the EU has signed before with like-minded partners.

“Throughout, we have listened carefully to our EU counterparts, signalled flexibility where possible to move the talks forward, and tabled new proposals to make progress. But we have repeatedly made clear that key elements of our position derive from the fundamentals of being a sovereign state, and it’s time for the EU to fully recognise this reality.

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“If they can’t do that in the very limited time we have left then we will be trading on terms like those the EU has with Australia, and we are ramping up our preparations for the end of the year.

“There is still time to reach a good agreement and I look forward to this week’s face-to-face negotiations where I hope progress can be made.”