• Saturday, Sep 24, 2022
  • Last Update : 10:24 am

EU, UK say Brexit gap still large, talks to continue

  • Published at 02:32 pm November 7th, 2020
UK EU Brexit
File photo: British members of the European Parliament from the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats wear scarves depicting the European Union and the Union Jack flags at The Europa Building, in Brussels on January 29, 2020 AFP

EU, UK will be cutting it very fine if agreement is not reached by mid-November, say observers

The European Union and Britain on Saturday said major divergences remain in their Brexit talks but that negotiations would continue next week to try to clinch a trade deal in the scant time left.

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said after a phone call with Prime Minister Boris Johnson that the differences were "large", while Johnson described them as "significant".

Despite multiple rounds of talks, including two weeks of "intense" meetings that ended Wednesday, the two leaders said they remained apart on key issues including fisheries and mechanisms to guarantee fair competition between British and European companies.

"Some progress has been made, but large differences remain especially on level playing field and fisheries. Our teams will continue working hard next week," von der Leyen tweeted.

Johnson said the negotiating teams would reconvene in London on Monday, "in order to redouble efforts to reach a deal", according to a Downing Street spokesperson.

Also read - 'It'll be carnage': British companies dread a Brexit border breakdown

"The prime minister set out that, while some progress had been made in recent discussions, significant differences remain in a number of areas, including the so-called level playing field and fish," the spokesperson said.

Both leaders said they had agreed to remain in personal contact as well, signalling a stepped-up political effort to secure a new trading partnership before Britain ends a post-Brexit transition period on December 31.

Before then, several weeks are needed for any treaty to be vetted and ratified by both sides, and observers have said they will be cutting it very fine if agreement is not reached by mid-November.

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