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Boris Johnson to head to Brussels for crucial Brexit talks

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The two leaders spoke for the second time in 48 hours as their commerce groups remained locked in stalled negotiations in Brussels.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the head of the European Commission plan to meet in particular person to see whether or not a final minute commerce deal may be hammered out, official mentioned Monday.

Mr. Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen mentioned after a prolonged telephone name that “significant differences” remained on three key points.

They mentioned they had been planning to focus on the variations “in a physical meeting in Brussels in the coming days.”

The two leaders spoke for the second time in 48 hours as their commerce groups remained locked in stalled negotiations in Brussels.

Gaps stay on fishing rights, fair-competition guidelines and the governance of future disputes, with simply different three weeks till the 2 sides’ present financial relationship unravels on the finish of the yr.

Any breakthrough would now have to come from the leaders themselves.

Despite intensified efforts, the joint assertion mentioned that “We agreed that the conditions for finalizing an agreement are not there due to the remaining significant differences on three critical issues- level playing field, governance and fisheries.”

U.Ok., EU leaders maintain high-stake telephone name

Leaders of Britain and the European Union held a high-stakes telephone name, as the 2 sides despatched out gloomy indicators in regards to the possibilities of breaking an deadlock and securing a post-Brexit commerce deal earlier than the present relationship winds down on the finish of the month.

Mr. Johnson and Ms. Ursula von der Leyen began their telephone name within the late afternoon to determine whether or not or not to pull the plug on talks – a call that might value a whole lot of hundreds of jobs on each side and disrupt cross-Channel commerce for years to come.

They had been additionally contemplating whether or not to proceed and after 90 minutes of talks, the decision was suspended, and it wasn’t instantly clear if they’d converse once more.

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier had no information of a breakthrough when be briefed ambassadors of the 27 member states early Monday on the possibilities of a cope with London earlier than the Dec. 31 deadline.

Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney mentioned Barnier’s message was “very downbeat.”

“I would say he is very gloomy, and obviously very cautious about the ability to make progress today,” Coveney advised Irish broadcaster RTE.

One official from an EU nation mentioned “the difficulties persist” over the authorized oversight of any commerce deal and requirements of honest play that the U.Ok. wants to meet to have the option to export within the EU. On fisheries too, a whole lot of work stays, mentioned the official, who spoke on situation of anonymity as a result of the talks had been ongoing.

Penny Mordaunt, a junior minister for Brexit planning, advised lawmakers within the House of Commons that the “level playing field” – competitors guidelines that Britain should agree to to acquire entry to the EU market – was essentially the most tough unresolved challenge.

“We are at a important second,” she mentioned.

Britain’s pound foreign money fell greater than 1% towards the greenback to beneath $1.33 amid the uncertainty.

Mr. Johnson’s spokesman, Jamie Davies, declined to supply odds on a deal being struck.

“I’m not going to put a percentage on it,” he mentioned. “We are prepared to negotiate for as long as we have time available if we think an agreement is still possible.”

While the U.Ok. left the EU politically on Jan. 31, it stays throughout the bloc’s tariff-free single market and customs union by way of Dec. 31. Reaching a commerce deal by then would guarantee there aren’t any tariffs and commerce quotas on items exported or imported by the 2 sides, though there would nonetheless be new prices and crimson tape.

At his early morning assembly with EU ambassadors, Barnier confronted some anxious member states that feared an excessive amount of might need been yielded already to London. If talks proceed after Monday, they are going to be closing in on an two-day EU summit beginning Thursday, the place German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron will likely be main gamers.

Germany needs a deal partly as a result of its large automobile trade has at all times discovered a welcome export market in Britain. France – seen by Britain because the “bad cop” in commerce negotiations – has taken the lead in demanding that U.Ok. corporations should carefully align themselves with EU guidelines and environmental and social requirements in the event that they nonetheless need to export to the profitable market of 450 million folks.

The politically charged challenge of fisheries additionally continues to play an outsized function. The EU has demanded widespread entry to U.Ok. fishing grounds that traditionally have been open to international trawlers. Britain insists it should management its personal waters, doling out quotas yearly.

While each Britain and the EU say they need a commerce deal, belief and goodwill are strained after months of testy negotiations.

In an extra complication, Johnson’s authorities plans Monday to revive laws that breaches the legally binding Brexit withdrawal settlement it struck with the EU final yr.

The U.Ok. authorities acknowledges that the Internal Market Bill breaks worldwide regulation, and the laws has been condemned by the EU, U.S. President-elect Joe Biden and scores of British lawmakers, together with many from Johnson’s personal Conservative Party.

The House of Lords, Parliament’s higher chamber, eliminated the law-breaking clauses from the laws final month, however Johnson’s authorities will attempt to reinsert them on Monday.

Britain says the invoice, which provides the federal government energy to override components of the withdrawal settlement relating to commerce with Northern Ireland, is required as an “insurance policy” to defend the movement of products throughout the U.Ok. within the occasion of a no-deal Brexit. The EU sees it as an act of unhealthy religion that might imperil Northern Ireland’s peace settlement.

On Wednesday the U.Ok. plans to introduce a Taxation Bill that accommodates extra measures alongside the identical strains and would additional irritate the EU.

But the British authorities supplied the bloc an olive department on the problem, saying it could take away the lawbreaking clauses if a joint U.Ok.-EU committee on Northern Ireland discovered options within the coming days. It mentioned talks within the committee, which continued Monday, had been constructive.

EU member states have to unanimously assist any post-Brexit commerce deal and the settlement nonetheless wants to be voted on by the European parliament, procedures that might push any deal proper up to the end-of-year deadline.

Both sides would endure economically from a failure to safe a commerce deal, however most economists suppose the British economic system would take a better hit, at the least within the brief time period, as a result of the U.Ok. does virtually half its commerce with the bloc.

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