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Saturday, January 28 2023

EU fully determined to reach agreement with UK: Spokesperson

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Brussels: The European Union (EU) is “100 per cent determined to reach an agreement” with the UK on their future relations, despite a presumed deadline drawing closer, a spokesperson for the bloc said.

On Monday, Daniel Ferrie told a European Commission briefing that the negotiations will continue in Brussels on all subjects, reports Xinhua news agency.

Among the topics that remained open were fisheries, on which “there is still a great deal of divergences”.

The UK is supposed to formally leave the bloc by December 31, 2020, and the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier has said an agreement needs to be reached by mid-November as it takes weeks to finalize the paperwork.

However, Barnier remains confident that the task could be fulfilled.

“With the European Parliament and all the Member States, we remain determined, patient, respectful. We want our future cooperation to be open but fair in all areas,” he tweeted on Monday.

The European Commission chief spokesperson Eric Mamer reiterated that the “quality” of the agreement is prioritized over “any kind of timing or deadline”.

A video summit of EU leaders, slated for November 19 to discuss the latest developments in the coronavirus pandemic, is being viewed in Brussels as the final deadline for a draft Brexit deal, according to The Guardian newspaper.

The UK and the EU started their lengthy and bumpy post-Brexit talks in March after the country formally ended its membership with the bloc on January 31, trying to secure a future trade deal before the Brexit transition period expires on December 31.

Serious differences remain in level playing field, governance and fisheries, among others, after rounds of talks.

Prime Minister Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, said earlier this month that the two sides would “redouble” their efforts to find a solution.

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