Brexit: Boris Johnson to meet EU chief Ursula von der Leyen in Brussels TODAY
Boris Johnson will meet with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen this evening in Brussels for showdown Brexit talks.
The pair will be briefed by their respective chief negotiators tonight about the outstanding issues holding up a trade agreement, before trying to hammer out a last minute deal one-on-one.
Last night von der Leyen tweeted: “I look forward to welcoming UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tomorrow evening.
“We will continue our discussion on the Partnership Agreement.”
The Chief UK negotiator also tweeted that the pair will have dinner tonight to “continue our discussions on the future relationship between the UK and the EU”.
Talks are in the final stages with time running out for a deal to be struck before the UK leaves the EU’s customs union and single market on 31 December.
The three largest issues left in trade talks are future fisheries arrangements, business subsidy regulations as a part of level playing field talks and overall governance of the deal.
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The UK government today confirmed it would be backing down on its Internal Market Bill, which would have breached the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement and broken international law in a no-deal scenario.
Some pundits have predicted this is a sign that a UK-EU trade deal could be reached in the coming days after a week of tension between negotiating teams.
Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier told MEPs yesterday that Wednesday was the absolute final Brexit deadline and that time was running out to give the European Parliament a chance to ratify any trade deal.
Environment secretary George Eustice told the BBC on Sunday that Wednesday would be a final deadline, but it could be extended if a deal is more or less agreed by this point.
“Of course if the ambience warms up again and great progress is made and it’s just sorting out the detail then you could always find more time, you could always extend [past Wednesday],” he said.
Barnier and Frost have been wrangling over how much access the EU retains to the UK’s fishing waters next year, with this issue believed to be the largest barrier to a deal.
It has been rumoured the UK only want the EU to keep about 20 per cent of the fish it was allocated pre-Brexit, while the EU wants closer to 80 per cent.