Brexit talks to resume Sunday amid 'significant differences' between EU, UK

The European Union and United Kingdom will continue negotiations on creating a post-Brexit trade relationship as the two sides say they remain far apart on a number of issues.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and British Prime Minister Boris said they spoke over the phone and that their negotiators would meet again Sunday. The disagreements centered around rules for fair competition, the oversight of the pact and fishing rights in U.K. waters.

“In a phone call today on the on-going negotiations between the European Union and the United Kingdom, we welcomed the fact that progress has been achieved in many areas. Nevertheless, significant differences remain on three critical issues: level playing field, governance and fisheries. Both sides underlined that no agreement is feasible if these issues are not resolved,” they said in a joint statement.


“Whilst recognising the seriousness of these differences, we agreed that a further effort should be undertaken by our negotiating teams to assess whether they can be resolved,” they added. “We are therefore instructing our chief negotiators to reconvene tomorrow in Brussels. We will speak again on Monday evening.”

The U.K. formally broke away from the EU on Jan. 31, though it will remain in its tariff-free single market through the end of 2020. The two sides are looking to clinch a deal for 2021 and beyond that would ensure there remains no tariffs or trade quotas in their economic ties.

The two sides have repeatedly failed to bridge their differences, but given the EU’s economic prowess and Britain’s standing on the international stage, the two sides are eager to avoid a rancorous break. However, if no agreement is reached, both sides would likely be subjected to burdensome tariffs.