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UK and EU admit the ‘conditions are not there’ for a Brexit trade deal

Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen - Image credit: PA

UK and EU admit the ‘conditions are not there’ for a Brexit trade deal

Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen have released a joint statement admitting that lack of agreement on level playing field, governance and fisheries are still standing in the way of a Brexit deal.

The Prime Minister spoke over a video call for more than an hour with European Commission president von der Leyen on Monday following days of deadlock over finalising a free trade agreement between the UK and EU. 

Without such an agreement, the UK will exit the EU with no deal when the Brexit transition period comes to an end on 31 December. 

Boris Johnson will now head to Brussels for further trade talks in a further attempt to secure a deal.

It was hoped that a deal would have been reached following a tense weekend of talks, but the joint statement by Johnson and von der Leyen on Monday night confirmed that key sticking points still remain.

“As agreed on Saturday, we took stock today of the ongoing negotiations,” the statement read.  

“We agreed that the conditions for finalizing an agreement are not there due to the remaining significant differences on three critical issues: level playing field, governance and fisheries.

“We asked our Chief Negotiators and their teams to prepare an overview of the remaining differences to be discussed in a physical meeting in Brussels in the coming days.”

Johnson has long said that taking back complete control of fisheries is key to the UK regaining its sovereignty as an independent coastal nation.

Meanwhile the EU has steadfastly stuck to the position that retaining access to its internal market must be on its terms, and they will not budge on their preferred mechanism for solving disputes.

Johnson will travel to Brussels later this week to meet von der Leyen in person in a last-ditch attempt to reach a post-Brexit trade deal.

Meanwhile, EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier and the UK’s chief negotiator Lord Frost will meet again today to draw up a list of outstanding differences.

And on Thursday, EU leaders will gather at a summit in Brussels.

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Brexit

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