Boris Johnson, Ursula von der Leyen agree to step up Brexit talks

The two leaders instruct negotiators to work intensively to bridge gaps

British PM Boris Johnson and President of the European Commission  Ursula von der Leyen agreed in a phone call on Saturday to step up Brexit talks to close “significant gaps” barring a new trade partnership, Reuters reported. Тhe two sides have said this week’s round of negotiations aimed at getting a new, post-Brexit trade agreement from 2021 made some progress but not yielded a breakthrough.

The EU says a deal must be sealed by the end of the month, or in the first days of November at the very latest, to leave enough time for ratification in the bloc by the end of the year.

The two leaders instructed their Brexit negotiators, Michel Barnier and David Frost, “to work intensively in order to try to bridge those gaps”.

Johnson said earlier on Saturday the UK continued to push for a Canada-style deal with the EU, but was also ready to sever current close-knit trade ties and default to general World Trade Organization rules, which include quotas and tariffs. “I think there’s a good deal to be done,” he said. “There’s a big opportunity for both sides to do well.”

More trade talks are due in London next week and in Brussels the following week before the 27 national EU leaders meet on 15-16 October to assess progress.

Similar articles