Brexit negotiations restart in person as clock ticks down

LONDON (Reuters) - Face-to-face negotiations between Britain and the European Union over a trade deal restarted earlier on Saturday as the two sides make a last ditch attempt to reach an agreement with just five weeks to go before their current relationship ends. There is currently no call scheduled between UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, a UK source told Reuters, after the Times newspaper reported the pair would speak in the next 48 hours. 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

Reuters November 29, 2020 02:05:38 IST
Brexit negotiations restart in person as clock ticks down

Brexit negotiations restart in person as clock ticks down

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

There is currently no call scheduled between UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, a UK source told Reuters, after the Times newspaper reported the pair would speak in the next 48 hours.

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 Dec. 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.

Johnson talked of "substantial and important differences", while Barnier referred to "significant divergences".

Britain left the bloc on Jan. 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.

On the major sticking point of fishing, some media reports on Friday suggested that Britain had rejected an EU proposal on the value of fish quota that European fleets catch in British waters that are due to be restored to the UK.

The Times said Johnson and von der Leyen were due to talk to find common ground on fishing quotas.

(Reporting by Sarah Young and Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Frances Kerry and David Evans)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.