Brexit: Boris Johnson to hold crunch EU-UK meeting next week

Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen Image copyright Reuters

Boris Johnson will hold post-Brexit trade talks with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen via video link on Monday next week.

The UK and EU have said no major progress has been made towards a deal after four rounds of talks this year.

Both sides are due to decide by the end of June whether the current deadline for negotiating a deal should be extended beyond the end of December.

The UK has said it will not agree to an extension, even if the EU requests one.

A UK government spokesman said both sides had also agreed an “intensified” schedule of weekly talks throughout the month of July.

This will involve a mix of formal negotiating rounds and smaller group meetings in London and Brussels, if coronavirus guidelines allow, he added.

European Council President Charles Michel and European Parliament President David-Maria Sassoli will also take part in the video call on Monday.

Mrs von der Leyen said she was “looking forward” to the meeting, while UK chief negotiator David Frost said he was “very pleased” an “intensified talks process” had been agreed.

But he said the government’s policy on not extending the transition period – during which the UK stays in the single market and customs union – “remains valid”.

Earlier, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove told the Commons the UK will “under no circumstances” accept an extension to the transition period.

He said the EU’s Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier had indicated progress can be made on issues including fisheries and state aid. but some EU member states had been a “little more reluctant”.

“I think it would be in everyone’s interests, EU member states, the Commission, and of course the UK government, if Michel Barnier were able to use the flexibility that he has deployed in the past in order to secure an arrangement that would work in everyone’s interests,” he told MPs.

It comes after Mr Barnier said there had been “no significant areas of progress” at last week’s negotiating round.

Likewise his UK counterpart Mr Frost said progress “remains limited,” and negotiators were “reaching the limits” of what could be achieved in formal talks.

Differences between the two sides remain on fisheries, competition rules, police co-operation, and how a deal would be enforced.