Johnson to go to Brussels in the hunt for approach out of Brexit stalemate


Boris Johnson is to journey to Brussels for make-or-break talks on a UK-EU commerce deal, with negotiations deadlocked and warnings that there was “each probability” they might fail.

The British prime minister will meet Ursula von der Leyen, European Fee president, “within the coming days” as 9 months of talks on a post-Brexit relationship between the 2 sides come to a head.

“We now have made no tangible progress,” stated a senior British official. “It’s clear this should now proceed politically. While we don’t contemplate this course of to be closed, issues are wanting very tough and there’s each probability we aren’t going to get there.”

Mr Johnson and Ms von der Leyen agreed on Monday after a 45-minute phone call that their chief negotiators ought to “put together an outline of the remaining variations to be mentioned in particular person”.

Timings haven’t been confirmed, however the assembly may happen on Wednesday forward of Thursday’s European Council assembly in Brussels. Each side stated Mr Johnson wouldn’t attend the 27-country summit.

Quantity 10 performed down the concept that the scheduling of face-to-face talks is perhaps a constructive signal. One ally of the prime minister stated: “The variations are each bit as large as they have been earlier than.”

The truth that talks are persevering with regardless of disagreements on a good competitors “degree enjoying area”, fisheries and the governance of any commerce deal supplied some hope that an settlement was nonetheless doable.

However Eire’s overseas minister stated there had been “no progress in any respect” in two days of intensive talks because the negotiation resumed on Sunday, saying different EU member states have been turning into “more and more annoyed”.

“In Brussels actually the temper is beginning to shift to contingency planning for a no-deal,” Simon Coveney advised RTE tv after arriving in Dublin from talks in Brussels. 

Mr Johnson’s allies have made it clear the prime minister is keen to stroll away from talks, however Downing Road stated he remained “eager” to strike a free commerce settlement on the fitting phrases.

Folks briefed on the Johnson-Von der Leyen name stated that either side felt it was time for political-level talks © Andrew Parsons/No10 Downing Road

The decision between Mr Johnson and Ms von der Leyen was not supposed to be a chance to chop offers on key sticking factors, however quite to take inventory of the 2 sides’ present positions. Officers on either side of the negotiations remained downbeat in regards to the vital divisions that stay in key areas of the negotiations, and have been making no predictions in regards to the probability of a deal.

Issues stay “very troublesome”, stated one EU official. The truth that Mr Johnson was coming to Brussels confirmed “issues should not falling off the cliff, however we haven’t solved the problems up to now days that the negotiators have been right here. It exhibits extra work must be carried out.”

Officers on either side harassed that it was not stunning that Mr Johnson ought to be the chief who travelled, provided that the 2 leaders final face-to-face assembly was in London.

Folks briefed on the decision stated that either side felt it was time for political-level talks and Ms von der Leyen instructed she ought to play host after going to Downing Road earlier this yr.

The unbiased Workplace for Finances Duty has warned {that a} no deal Brexit on January 1 would inflict a 2 per cent hit on the UK economic system — about £40bn — and add round 300,000 to the jobless whole subsequent yr.

Sterling fell as a lot as 1.6 per cent in opposition to the US greenback to the touch a two-week low simply above $1.32, earlier than selecting up later within the day, leaving it 0.8 per cent decrease at $1.33 by late afternoon in London. 

Folks briefed on the talks stated that negotiators on Monday had sought to deal with continued deep-rooted splits over fishing rights in UK waters and “degree enjoying area circumstances” for enterprise.

On fisheries, an issue going into Monday’s talks was the UK’s continued resistance to guaranteeing entry for European boats to its waters 6-12 nautical miles from the coast, in addition to the size of a transition interval protecting fishing grounds additional out.

Splits over the extent enjoying area concern the EU’s dedication to safe technique of taking speedy redress in opposition to the UK if it seeks to achieve an unfair aggressive benefit by using subsidies or by having weaker environmental and labour rules.

Earlier on Monday Mr Johnson tried to raise the gloom hanging over the talks by offering to scrap controversial lawbreaking clauses from UK laws referring to Northern Eire.

Mr Johnson stated that if the 2 sides reached an settlement on the operation of the NI protocol, a part of Britain’s EU withdrawal deal, the contentious clauses wouldn’t be crucial.

Though welcomed in Brussels, one EU diplomat stated that the transfer amounted to the UK “making an attempt to make use of rogue behaviour as leverage”.

Mr Johnson had insisted on clauses in the UK internal market bill as a “security internet” to make sure the free move of products between the mainland UK and Northern Eire within the occasion London and Brussels couldn’t attain an understanding over tips on how to apply final yr’s deal and commerce talks failed.

Ministers admitted the clauses would enable ministers to interrupt worldwide legislation, because the laws would override Britain’s withdrawal treaty with the EU; the problem has dogged commerce talks ever since.


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