PM and EU chief agree to ‘redouble efforts’ to reach a deal in trade talks

Boris Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen agreed during a phone call on Saturday to “redouble efforts” to reach a trade deal and signed off on talks continuing next week.

Downing Street said the Prime Minister told his Brussels counterpart that there remained “significant differences” in the UK-EU negotiations, with the two sides continuing to be apart on their positions over fishing rights and a level playing field agreement.

The call follows two weeks of intensified talks between the UK’s chief negotiator Lord Frost and his European Union equivalent Michel Barnier, with Mr Johnson and Ms von der Leyen paving the way for further discussions between the pair in London next week.

“Prime Minister Boris Johnson today spoke with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen for a stock take on the progress in the negotiations between the UK and the EU,” a Number 10 spokeswoman said.

“The Prime Minister set out that, while some progress had been made in recent discussions, significant differences remain in a number of areas, including the so-called level playing field and fish.

“The Prime Minister and president agreed that their negotiating teams would continue talks in London next week, beginning on Monday, in order to redouble efforts to reach a deal.

“They agreed to remain in personal contact about the negotiations.”

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