Britain, EU Agree To Keep Talking Over Deal
By Stefan J. Bos, Special Correspondent Worthy News
(Worthy News) – London and Brussels have agreed to continue talks on a crucial trade deal to avoid Britain’s turbulent exit from the European Union’s orbit by the end of the month. The announcement followed difficult negotiations between the two sides to prevent a messy divorce on Sunday.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the EU’s executive Commission President Ursula von der Leyen had given negotiators a clear mandate: Find a way to resolve an impasse over a trade deal by Sunday. Both sides said Friday that a ‘no-deal’ was now the most likely outcome.
But in a surprise move, they asked their negotiators to keep talking beyond Sunday to secure a deal governing almost $1 trillion of trade a year.
Von der Leyen told reporters in a phone call that she agreed with the British prime minister to go “the extra mile” to try to get an agreement. “Despite the exhaustion after almost a year of negotiations, despite the fact that deadlines have been missed over and over, we think it is responsible at this point to go the extra mile,” she said.
“We have accordingly mandated our negotiators to continue the talks and to see whether an agreement can even at this late stage be reached. The negotiations continue here in Brussels,” Von der Leyen added.
However, Prime Minister Johnson cautioned that he still fears the negotiations will end without a deal. “Look, if Ursula is optimistic, that’s great. “But as far as I can see, there are some serious and very, very difficult issues that currently separate the UK from the EU,” he stressed.
The dispute centers around three “critical issues” such as fishing rights giving the EU fishing fleet access to British waters. France has been especially vocal on that topic. Other unresolved issues include government support for industry and how the deal is enforced.
British Prime Minister Johnson warned his nation it must get ready to trade on World Trade Organization terms with the EU.
That would also involve more complicated cross border trade. Still, Johnson said Britain’s ports are ready to deal with the rest of Europe. Britain left the EU in January but remained under its trading rules until the end of the year.
That may now change on New Year’s Day.
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