The European Union and the United Kingdom have said that there are still major differences in views on a Brexit deal, with negotiations set to continue next week in the scarce time available to reach a trade agreement.
Speaking after a phone call on Saturday, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, said that the differences were “large”, while Johnson described them as “significant”
Important issues, including fisheries, continue to be a problem for both parties despite several rounds of talks and two weeks of “intense” meetings.
“Some progress has been made, but large differences remain, especially in terms of level playing field and fisheries. Our teams will continue to work hard next week,” tweeted Von der Leyen.
We took stock of the negotiations with UK Prime Minister @BorisJohnson today. Some progress has been made,but large differences remain especially on level playing field and fisheries.Our teams will continue working hard next week. We will remain in close contact in the next days. pic.twitter.com/UVyyzKeUyW
— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) November 7, 2020
This general message of differences and willingness to cooperate was also seen in Johnson’s reaction.
“The prime minister and president agreed that their negotiating teams would continue talks in London next week, beginning on Monday, in order to redouble efforts to reach a deal,” said a Downing Street spokesperson. “The prime minister set out that, while some progress had been made in recent discussions, significant differences remain in a number of areas, including the so-called level playing field and fish,” the statement read.
“They agreed to remain in personal contact about the negotiations,” the statement added. This willingness to talk is being seen by some media as vital, with Belga seeing it as an indication of an increased political effort to establish a new trade partnership before the UK ends a post-Brexit transition period on December 31.
Before then any agreement would have to be reviewed and ratified by both parties, leaving experts warning at it will be very tight if no agreement is reached by mid-November.
The Brussels Times