U.K.’s Johnson Says Brexit Talks ‘Very Tricky’ But Still Hopeful
(Bloomberg) -- U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave a downbeat assessment of the state of trade talks with the European Union, saying the situation is “very tricky” but he still hopes to reach a deal.
“It’s looking very, very difficult at the moment,” Johnson told reporters in his first public comments since announcing he will travel to Brussels in a bid to break the deadlock in negotiations. “Hope springs eternal, and I’ll do my best to sort it out if we can.”
Johnson is due to meet European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen this week after eight months of negotiations to resolve three key disagreements between the two sides: what access EU boats will have to U.K. fishing waters, how any agreement will be governed, and the extent to which the U.K. will have to align its rules with the EU in future.
“We’re willing to engage at any level political or otherwise, we’re willing to try anything,” Johnson said. “But there are just limits beyond which, obviously, no sensible independent government or country could go.”
The U.K. will leave the European single market and customs union on Dec. 31 -- with or without an agreement. Both the European and U.K. parliaments need to ratify any accord, so one has to be reached before then to be implemented in time.
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