July 11, 2020

Boris Johnson to tell EU leaders: I want a Brexit deal by autumn

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Boris Johnson to tell EU leaders: I want a Brexit deal by autumnBoris Johnson will tell European Union leaders on Monday that they must conclude Brexit talks by autumn "at the latest" to give certainty to companies affected by the UK's exit from the European Union. The Prime Minister, his chief Brexit negotiator David Frost, and the Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove are due to hold "high-level talks" with Charles Michel, the President of the European Council, Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, and David Sassoli, the President of the European Parliament. The Political Declaration agreed between the UK and EU last autumn set out that the high-level meeting must "take stock of progress with the aim of agreeing actions to move forward in negotiations on the future relationship". There will now be talks in each week of the five weeks between June 29 and July 27 to try to strike a deal. Number 10 sources said on Sunday that Mr Johnson "will make it clear that the negotiation now needs to be swiftly concluded, with certainty provided to the public and businesses by the autumn at the latest". That is later than a deadline of "the end of summer" that was being briefed by Number 10 late last week. Mr Johnson will use the meeting – held by video conference because of social distancing caused by the coronavirus pandemic – to press for a "high-quality Free Trade Agreement" (FTA) that is "consistent with others the EU have agreed, as part of a balanced overall outcome". The Prime Minister will make clear that the UK will be prepared to leave the EU "whatever happens" at the end of the 11-month implementation period on Dec 31, which followed the UK's exit on Jan 31 this year.

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