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Brexit stalemate: UK, EU resume negotiations

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British negotiators arrived in Brussels on Sunday for a last-ditch attempt to strike a Brexit trade deal with the European Union and avert a stalemate at the end of the year.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen spoke on the phone,  and instructed their teams to resume talks after they were paused a day earlier due to an impasse over three key issues.

In a joint statement after their call, Johnson and von der Leyen said that no agreement was feasible if significant differences on fishing, fair competition and ways to solve future disputes were not resolved.

Since Britain formally left the EU on Jan. 31, negotiators have missed a series of deadlines to reach a deal with the world’s largest trading bloc before a status-quo transition period ends on Dec. 31.

Britain’s chief negotiator David Frost told reporters after arriving in Brussels on Sunday that his team would be working very hard to try to get a deal.

EU negotiator Michel Barnier had been expected to brief member states’ ambassadors to Brussels on the state of play on Sunday but that meeting was postponed to Monday morning.

Experts have warned that a no-deal scenario would cause huge long-term disruption to the British economy.

British farming minister George Eustice said the country had done a huge amount of preparation for a no-deal and was ready to go through with such a scenario.

Even if an agreement is clinched before 2021, there will still be major disruption to the movement of goods and people because Britain will sit outside the single market and customs union of the 27-nation EU.

 

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