Brexit trade talks resume in person amid growing EU scepticism

WION Web Team
London, London, UK (Great Britain) Published: Nov 29, 2020, 10:18 AM(IST)

EU negotiator Michel Barnier Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The Times newspaper reported UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen would speak in the next 48 hours. But Reuters refuted the report.

Face-to-face negotiations between Britain and the European Union over a trade deal have restarted as the two sides make a last ditch attempt to reach an agreement with just five weeks to go before their current relationship ends.

The Times newspaper reported UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen would speak in the next 48 hours. But Reuters refuted the report.

The first sign of movement -- either towards a deal or that talks are crumbling -- is likely to be a call between Johnson and von der Leyen.

The Times also reported that the European Commission has started to "lean on" EU negotiator Michel Barnier to reach a deal with Britain, raising hopes that an agreement could come.

EU negotiator Michel Barnier arrived for talks in London on Saturday morning. He had said on Friday night that he was "very happy" to be back in the city and would keep working with "patience and determination".

Barnier and Britain's negotiator David Frost are working to secure a deal before the UK's transition period with the EU ends on December 31.

Both sides said on Friday that there were still big differences to overcome, as they both called for the other to compromise on the three main issues of contention - fishing, state aid and how to resolve any future disputes.

Britain left the bloc on January 31 this year and a "no-deal" final exit would snarl borders, spook financial markets and disrupt delicate supply chains that stretch across Europe and beyond -- just as the world grapples with the vast economic cost of the COVID-19 outbreak.

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