Britain and the European Union struck a pessimistic tone in trade talks on Thursday, with a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying it was “very likely” there would be no agreement unless the bloc changed its position “substantially”.
With just over two weeks before Britain finally leaves the bloc’s orbit, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was also downbeat, saying it would be “very challenging” to overcome the “big differences” that remained.
Both sides have called on the other to shift position to try to safeguard almost a trillion dollars worth of trade from tariffs and quotas when a so-called transition period ends on Dec. 31.
Since Britain left the EU in January, the talks have been largely hamstrung over two issues - the bloc’s fishing rights in British waters and on creating a so-called level playing field providing fair competition rules for both sides.
LONDON/BRUSSELS (Reuters) 18 December 2020