Updated 1 hour ago
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von Der Lane today agreed in a phone call today to “double their efforts” to reach a trade agreement and sign it in talks next week.
Dominion Street said the Prime Minister had told his Brussels that there were “significant differences” in the UK-EU talks. Both sides continue to take positions on fishing rights and level playing fields.
Johnson and von Der Lane set the stage for further talks between the two in London next week, following two weeks of intense discussions between the UK’s chief negotiator Lord Frost and his European counterpart Michael Barnier.
“Prime Minister Boris Johnson has spoken with European Commission President Ursula von Der Lane to promote progress in the negotiations between the UK and the European Union,” said a spokesman for Tenth.
“Despite some progress in recent discussions, there are significant differences in many areas, including level playing fields and fisheries,” he said.
The Prime Minister and the President agreed that talks would continue in London from Monday to redouble efforts to reach an agreement.
They agreed to keep in touch personally about the discussions.
The brief information between the two leaders is considered to be one of the key moments in cross-channel bartering.
Their talks “intensified” last month after the European Council meeting on October 15 derailed the talks.
Speaking before the phone call, Ireland’s European Minister Thomas Byrne expressed doubt that the talks would lead to white smoke in agreeing to a deal, saying the talks were still “on a technical level”.
“I personally do not expect much progress today, but I think it’s very good that the first two people are talking – I think it’s really positive, but I’m not expecting a moment at this particular point,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today program.
Earlier this week, UK Chief Negotiator Lord Frost arrived in the Belgian capital for a face-to-face meeting with European Union leader Michael Barnier.
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After the talks ended on Wednesday, Barnier explained to MEPs and EU diplomats that “very serious deviations” remained, with only 54 days left until the end of the transition period.
The major setback continues on the “level playing field” with the aim of preventing unfair competition in areas including state subsidies, fisheries policy and governance of any transaction.
After the phone call, Frost tweeted: “Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Commission President Ursula von Der Lane spoke today about the talks with the European Union.
“My discussion with Michael Barnier will continue in London on Monday.”
He had previously said that progress had been made during the two weeks of intense discussions, but that “there are still broad differences on some important issues”.
Thomas Byrne, Minister of State for European Affairs, said he doubted the dialogue between Von der Lane and Johnson would make a significant difference in the EU – UK trade talks.
“I personally do not expect much progress today, but I think it’s very good that the first two people are talking,” Bibin told Radio 4 program Today.
Byron does not believe that key contractors should be replaced and that heads of state should not intervene to win a deal.
“No, Ursula von Der Lane, Michael Barnier, they speak for all Europeans, not individual member states – that’s the way the EU works,” Byron said.
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