Oliver Hoslet / AB
European Commission President Ursula van der Leyen announced on Sunday that the UK and the EU would continue talks to avoid a non-agreement Brexit as the year-end deadline approaches.
Van der Leyen, who took the stage at EU headquarters in Brussels, said talks would continue to determine the future trade relationship between the two sides, despite no progress. Van der Leyen said he had a “constructive and effective phone call” with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in which they discussed “unresolved key issues”.
He did not go into detail, but the sticky points include fishing rights, fair competition rules and mechanisms for resolving trade disputes.
“Our negotiating teams have been working day and night in recent days, despite the exhaustion after almost a year of negotiations – and missed the deadline – and we both feel responsible at this point, this time over time, to go the extra mile,” Van der Leyne said.
“Accordingly we have compelled the negotiators to continue the negotiations and see if an agreement can be reached even at this late stage.”
The UK withdrew from the EU at the end of January, and negotiators have been working to find out the details since the UK officially became its own. But the official change period expires at the end of the month; Without an agreement, both parties may face many problems.
The new tariffs could affect businesses and increase prices for consumers. All goods moving between the UK and the EU will eventually be subject to customs, which will lead to delays and uncertainty. UK citizens who want to travel across the EU – and vice versa – will face new restrictions.
“I’m afraid we’m still far behind on some important things, but where life is, there’s hope,” Johnson said. Told reporters Sunday. “We’ll continue to talk about what we can do. The UK will definitely not walk away from the talks.”
But the “most likely” effect, Johnson said, would be that the UK should be prepared to trade with the EU under terms established by the World Trade Organization.
“There is a clarity and simplicity to that approach, and it has its own advantages,” Johnson said. “It’s not where we want to go, but it’s more than the UK is ready for if we want to finish that solution.”