European Union resumes Brexit negotiations
Negotiations have resumed between Britain and the European Union regarding a trade agreement between them, as both parties make their last attempts to reach an agreement five weeks before the end of their current relations.
A British source said that there is currently no scheduled call between British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, after The Times reported that the two will speak within 48 hours.
The first sign of a move - either toward a deal or that the talks are collapsing - is likely to be a call between Johnson and von der Leyen.
The Times also reported that the European Commission had begun "relying on" EU negotiator Michel Barnier to reach an agreement with Britain, raising hopes that an agreement could be reached.
European Union negotiator Michel Barnier arrived for talks in London on Saturday morning. He had said Friday night that he was "extremely happy" to be back in town and would continue to work "with patience and determination."
Barnier and British negotiator David Frost are working to secure a deal before the United Kingdom's transition period with the European Union ends on December 31.
The two sides said Friday that there are still major differences to be overcome, as they both called for compromise on the three main issues of contention - fishing, state aid, and how to resolve any future disputes.
Johnson spoke of "fundamental and important differences," while Barnier noted "major differences."
Britain left the bloc on January 31 this year, and a final "no deal" exit would impede borders, scare financial markets and disrupt sensitive supply chains stretching across Europe and beyond - just as the world grapples with the enormous economic cost of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Regarding the main fishing point of contention, some media reports on Friday indicated that Britain had rejected the European Union's proposal on the value of the quota of fish caught by European fleets in British waters to be returned to the United Kingdom.