'Next Days Decisive': EU Chief von der Leyen Says There's a Path to a Brexit Deal Now
08:11 GMT 16.12.2020(updated 08:59 GMT 16.12.2020)
Earlier, the European Union's chief negotiator for relations with London, Michel Barnier, called for giving a new trade deal with the United Kingdom "every chance of success", noting that the next few days were crucial for securing a new pact by the end of the year, when the Brexit transition period is set to expire.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said that the UK and the EU must continue trying to find a solution to the Brexit stalemate.
"As things stand, I cannot tell you whether there will be a deal or not. But I can tell you that there is a path to an agreement now. The path may be very narrow but it is there," European Commission President said.
She added that despite some progress, talks on fisheries were still very complicated, as he stated that the "next days are gpong to be decisive".
"We have found a way forward on most issues but two issues still remain outstanding: the level playing field and fisheries. I am glad to report that issues linked to governance now have largely been resolved. The next days are going to be decisive," von der Leyen said.
Over the weekend, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen agreed to extend negotiations on a trade deal beyond the self-imposed deadline of 13 December. However, the opposing sides remain in disagreement on such issues as governance, fishing rights, and the set of rules and procedures designed to prevent businesses from undercutting their rivals in another country.
The negotiation has so far been deadlocked on two items â€” the ownership of fisheries close to UK waters and the fair business competition.
If London and Brussels find no common ground by 31 December, the UK will no longer be under the EU's trade rules, with the World Trade Organization's rules coming into force for both sides in 2021, including customs tariffs and full border checks for UK goods flowing across the English Channel.
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