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Brexit negotiations to seek resolution as 'serious differences' remain

Ursula von der Leyen and Boris Johnson will speak again on Monday to assess the situation.

Image: Shutterstock/Alexandros Michailidis

BREXIT NEGOTIATIONS ARE set to resume between the UK and EU tomorrow after they were paused last night over the divergences in the agreements sought by the two sides.

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke on the phone today to discuss how to move forward with trade talks.

In a joint statement this evening, Von der Leyen and Johnson said that “in a phone call today on the ongoing negotiations between the European Union and the United Kingdom, we welcome the fact that progress has been achieved in many areas”.

“Nevertheless, significant differences remain on three critical issues: the level playing field, governance and fisheries,” the two leaders said.

“Both sides underline that no agreement is feasible if these issues are not resolved.

“Whilst recognising the seriousness of these differences, we agreed that a further effort would 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 and we will speak again on Monday evening.”

Von der Leyen and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke today after talks were paused last night when negotiators for the EU and UK said that the conditions for reaching an agreement had not been met.

Following the outcome of the call between the two leaders, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said: “I welcome the fact that negotiators will resume their discussions on an EU and UK trade deal in Brussels tomorrow”.

“An agreement is in everyone’s best interests,” Martin said.

“Every effort should be made to reach a deal,” he said.

Michel Barnier, the European Commission’s head of negotiations with the UK, and David Frost, the EU adviser to the prime minister, said last night that there were “significant divergences” between the two sides.

In a joint statement, Barnier and Frost said that they agreed to pause the talks in order to brief their Principals on the state of play of the negotiations”.

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Barnier has issued a brief response this evening following the Von der Leyen and Johnson’s decision to ask negotiators to resume talks.

We will see if there is a way forward. Work continues tomorrow.

The three key issues which remain to be solved between the negotiating teams – fishing, governance, and the level playing field – have been the focus on post-Brexit talks in recent days.

The issue of the “level playing field” relates to aims to prevent unfair competition on state subsidies and standards, while on fishing rights, the UK is seeking to assert control of its waters in a post-Brexit era.

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