UK, EU leaders to discuss Brexit, free trade talks

LONDON, OCT 2 (AP) | Publish Date: 10/2/2020 12:17:33 PM IST

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Saturday will “take stock” of negotiations on a post-Brexit free trade deal and to “discuss next steps,” officials said.

The announcement by both sides came as they were winding up another weeklong session of detailed negotiations on a rudimentary free trade agreement that should come in force once a Brexit transition period ends Dec. 31.

Little progress has been made on such a deal since the U.K. left the bloc at the end of January.

Both sides have acknowledged that time is running out if they are to achieve an agreement before the current Brexit transition period comes to an end at the end of the year.

Johnson has said he is prepared to walk away from the negotiations if there is no agreement by the time of the next EU summit on Oct. 15. The EU sees a deadline at the end of the month, allowing for two months to get any deal through legislative approval.

Complicating the trade talks further are Britain’s plans to breach an international agreement it signed with the EU to regulate trade on the island of Ireland, where both sides have their only land border separating the U.K.’s Northern Ireland from EU member Ireland.

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