Saturday, 03 October 2020
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in an interview with the Telegraph newspaper, published on Saturday, that he was “pretty optimistic” about prospects for a post-Brexit agreement with the European Union.
Johnson, who is scheduled to take part in a video-conference call with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen on Saturday afternoon, said the United Kingdom has always been clear on what it wants, which is an agreement like the one between the EU and Canada.
“We have been members (of the EU) for 45 years, and I don’t see why they can’t have the same deal with us, so I’m pretty optimistic,” he said.
The deadline for the two sides to reach agreement is 15 October, the date scheduled for the next EU heads of state and government summit. The deal could then be implemented by the end of the year.
Progress may be made on Saturday afternoon, at the video-conference call between Johnson and von der Leyen, which follows a new week of trade talks led by EU and UK negotiators Michel Barnier and David Frost.
Speaking after briefing EU leaders on the efforts to work out an agreement, von der Leyen insisted on the need to intensify the negotiations. “We are running out of time,” she stressed, without disclosing what she expected from the British Prime Minister.
Johnson, for his part, told The Daily Telegraph that prospects for a deal were “very good if everybody just exercises some common sense.”
As the countdown to the 15th of October continues, many sticking points remain, such as the governance of the future deal, the eternal question of guarantees demanded by the EU, and the explosive issue of fishing.
On the British side, negotiators hope to quickly reach the famous negotiation “tunnel,” the moment when a deal seems close enough to begin continuous closed-door talks.
“One needs to calm down a bit with the tunnel,” a European source noted. “There is no sign that we’re there yet.”
The Brussels Times