Prime Minister Boris Johnson will travel to Brussels in the coming days as the UK and EU try to agree on a Brexit deal at the 11th hour.
The Prime Minister and Ursula von der Leyen agreed to meet in person after talks between EU’s negotiator Michel Barnier and the UK’s Lord David Frost failed to break the deadlock. Negotiations in Brussels between Mr Barnier and Lord Frost have been taking place since yesterday morning.
Negotiations between the pair in London were paused last Friday after the two negotiators agreed they would be unable to reach an agreement without the intervention of Mr Johnson and Ms von der Leyen.
The Prime Minister and European Commission President spoke on the phone on Saturday and agreed to restart trade talks before holding another phone call tonight to “take stock” of progress.
A joint statement released after this evening’s phone call warned there were “remaining significant differences”.
Mr Johnson will now travel to Brussels later this week in the hope of agreeing a deal.
Mr Frost and Mr Barnier have been asked to prepare an overview of the remaining sticking points ahead of the in-person negotiations.
The statement said: “As agreed on Saturday, we took stock today of the ongoing negotiations.
“We agreed that the conditions for finalising 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.”
Prime Minister Johnson and Ms von der Leyen are expected to hold face to face talks on Wednesday ahead of a summit of EU leaders on Thursday and Friday.
Both sides would like to have a deal agreed prior to the summit so it can then be signed off by the EU27 when they meet.
Photo Credit: Boris Johnson Speaks to Ursula von der Leyen. The Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks on the telephone from inside his office in No10 Downing Street, to the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen during the final stages of the Brexit negations. Picture by Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street