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Brexit: Johnson to go to Brussels for face-to-face assembly with Von der Leyen

Boris Johnson will journey to Brussels for a face-to-face summit with the European fee president, Ursula von der Leyen, in an Eleventh-hour try to interrupt the deadlock within the Brexit negotiations, elevating hopes of settlement on a commerce and safety deal.

A protracted-awaited crunch assembly will likely be held within the “coming days”, the 2 leaders mentioned in a joint assertion following a 90-minute name, with sources on either side pointing to Wednesday because the most certainly date.

Johnson had requested for a break from the phone name to substantiate together with his aides, together with his chief negotiator, David Frost, that there have been ample grounds to make the journey.

EU sources mentioned there was no want for him to then make a second name to Von der Leyen to debate subsequent steps, as Downing Road was in settlement {that a} make-or-break summit in Brussels was worthwhile.

“We agreed that the situations for finalising an settlement will not be there as a result of remaining important variations on three important points: degree taking part in subject, governance and fisheries,” the leaders mentioned. “We requested our chief negotiators and their groups to arrange an outline of the remaining variations to be mentioned in a bodily assembly in Brussels within the coming days.”

Earlier within the day the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, had informed MEPs the talks have been “not removed from the very endgame”, warning he wouldn’t proceed past Wednesday.

Either side will want time to ratify any settlement and Downing Road has mentioned it might maintain a vote on new laws overriding the withdrawal settlement on Wednesday, a probably deal-breaking transfer.

A senior EU diplomat mentioned: “The result remains to be unsure, it may nonetheless go each methods. The EU is able to go the additional mile to agree on a good, sustainable and balanced deal for residents within the EU and UK. It’s for the UK to decide on between such a constructive final result or a no-deal final result.”

The main target of the negotiation stays on sustaining truthful competitors over time, EU entry to British fishing waters and a system of dispute decision if the phrases of the treaty are breached.

EU leaders will meet on Thursday, once they may log out on an settlement or set off their preparations for a no-deal final result, together with momentary laws to maintain planes within the air.

Progress on the problems of EU fleets’ entry to British fishing waters, as reported by the Guardian, was upended late on Sunday evening when Frost tabled new calls for in regards to the possession of vessels in British seas. Underneath the proposals, any majority-owned vessels wouldn’t be allowed to sail below the UK flag, sources in Brussels mentioned.

Vessels at the moment want solely an “financial hyperlink” to the UK, corresponding to touchdown greater than half their catch at British ports or having majority British crews. Corporations primarily based in Iceland, Spain and the Netherlands fished 55% of the UK’s fishing quota in 2019, in accordance with analysis printed this yr.

EU sources had mentioned the 2 sides have been near a deal earlier on Sunday, however Barnier quelled any optimism, telling ambassadors and MEPs on Monday morning that the negotiation was “tough” as he defined the brand new British demand. One senior EU diplomat mentioned: “This has actually precipitated a whole lot of issues. A paper was handed over late on Sunday evening. That is severe.”

Barnier mentioned there additionally remained variations over quota numbers and the UK’s intention to dam entry to the six- to 12-mile zone, seas through which French and Belgian fleets specifically have fished for hundreds of years. “That’s worrying at this stage within the negotiation,” he mentioned.

Barnier mentioned the problem of “non-regression” from present requirements had progressed properly however frequent floor had nonetheless not been discovered on the EU’s demand for a mechanism to make sure a baseline of minimal environmental, social and labour requirements raises on either side over time. The difficulty was quick changing into the largest impediment to a deal, EU diplomats mentioned.

Barnier informed ambassadors that he was optimistic that an settlement would fall into place on dispute decision. Downing Road was but to comply with provisions that may permit for one facet to droop elements of the deal, often called a “cross suspension clause”, however he was assured about discovering an answer, Barnier mentioned.

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