Johnson set to fly to Brussels for fresh Brexit talks

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Johnson set to fly to Brussels for fresh Brexit talks

Britain and the European Union say talks on a free-trade agreement are on the brink of collapse, with just over three weeks left before an economic rupture affecting businesses on both sides.

Officials downplayed the chances of a breakthrough when Prime Minister Boris Johnson heads to Brussels for personal talks with President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.
Johnson, speaking after months of tense talks in which negotiators have been unable to agree on key issues, stated: “the situation at the moment is very tricky”.”

“But hope springs eternal. I will do my best to sort it out if we can,” he said.
Michael Roth, the German European Affairs Minister, called on London to show political will.

“Let me be very clear, our future relationship is based on trust and confidence. It’s precisely this confidence that is at stake in our negotiations right now,” said Roth, whose country currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency.

Roth informed reporters before a videoconference with his EU counterparts that the United States and the European Union do not want to reach a deal at any price.

Johnson and von der Leyen, head of the EU’s executive arm, spoke by phone Monday for the second time in 48 hours but failed to break the trade talks impasse. They said afterwards that “significant differences” remained on three key issues — fishing rights, fair-competition rules and the governance of future disputes — and “the conditions for finalizing an agreement are not there.”

The two leaders said they planned to discuss the remaining differences face to face “in Brussels in the coming days.”

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier met his U.K. colleague David Frost in Brussels on Tuesday to take stock and “prepare the next steps,” Barnier said as he left the meeting

This post was originally published on HexaTra.Com

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