The European Union and the United Kingdom are still a long way from reaching an agreement on future trade relations, both parties reported together on Monday evening Explanation. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is therefore traveling to Brussels to discuss the remaining issues.
On Monday evening there was a conference call on Brexit between Johnson and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. The conversation, which according to one source lasted about an hour and a half, did not produce any significant results.
Johnson and Von der Leyen discussed the chances of success in further talks on a trade agreement between the UK and the European Union. After the conversation, von der Leyen said that the positions of both sides on key issues – fisheries, surveillance and a level playing field – are still far apart.
“We have asked our negotiators and their teams to outline the main positions on which we disagree and will discuss them in a physical meeting in Brussels in the coming days,” the joint statement said.
Negotiations for a trade agreement have entered a crucial phase. If there is no approved agreement by January 1, the current transition phase will end without an agreement. This means that the EU and the UK will impose mutual import duties on goods from next year.
The heads of state and government of the EU will meet in Brussels on Thursday. Brexit negotiations with the UK are high on the agenda. Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney therefore said Wednesday would be the final deadline for the EU and the UK to reach an agreement. “If there is no agreement on Thursday, EU heads of state and government will consider contingency plans for a Brexit without an agreement.”