Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s chief negotiator David Frost has travelled to Brussels to continue the post-Brexit trade deal talks with his European counterpart Michel Barnier, but this time it’ll be a now-or-never kind of talk as the transition period closes in a few weeks from today.
Mr Frost told reporters while walking through the train station that both sides will be “working very hard to get a deal. We will be looking forward to meeting with our European colleagues later this afternoon.”
The now-or-never approach of talk comes after the UK Prime Minister gave his negotiating team only 48 hours to conclude a deal with the EU, or everyone will prepare for a no-deal Brexit.
Mr Johnson yesterday spoke with European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen yet, there was no headway as Key divergences remain on the post-Brexit fishery, the level playing field and state aid.
Mr Frost now has the final option of holding 48 hours “intensive” talks with his EU counterpart Michel Barnier.
A source from the UK that’s close to the negotiations said, “This is the final throw of the dice. There is a fair deal to be done that works for both sides, but this will only happen if the EU is willing to respect the fundamental principles of sovereignty and control.”
Yesterday, Mr Johnson and Mrs Von der Leyen warned, “significant differences” remained on fisheries, competition rules and the governance arrangements for any deal.
“Both sides underlined that no agreement is feasible if these issues are not resolved. Whilst recognising the seriousness of these differences, we agreed that a further effort should be undertaken by our negotiating teams to assess whether they can be resolved.
“We are therefore instructing our chief negotiators to reconvene tomorrow in Brussels. We will speak again on Monday evening.”