BREAKING NEWS
This content is not available in your region

UK and EU to 'redouble efforts' on post-Brexit deal amid 'significant differences'

Access to the comments Comments
In this Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020 file photo, Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson greets European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen
In this Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020 file photo, Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson greets European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen   -   Copyright  Matt Dunham/AP Photo
Text size Aa Aa

The UK and EU will "redouble efforts" on negotiations despite "significant differences", Downing Street said in a statement on Saturday.

The statement comes with Britain and the European Union less than two months away from end of the post-Brexit transition period which will see the UK leaving the bloc's trading structures.

"Some progress has been made, but large differences remain especially on level playing field and fisheries," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted, in a similar statement to that of Downing Street.

Von der Leyen and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke on the phone on Saturday before negotiations resume on Monday.

The two leaders have agreed to stay in "close contact" over the coming days.

Although the UK left the European Union in January, there has been a transition period during which the country stays within the EU's single market and customs union.

Britain's spending watchdog recently warned that trade is likely to be impacted between the UK and EU at the beginning of the year.

"There is likely to be significant disruption at the border from January 1 as many traders and third parties will not be ready for new EU controls," the National Audit Office said.

Back in October, Britain threatened to walk away from negotiations unless there was a fundamental change in Brussels.

The British government's Internal Market Bill introduced in September 2020 had plunged trust between the UK and EU to a new low.

It's possible that the election of Joe Biden in the US could put pressure for the UK to get a deal with the EU. Johnson said he expects the Americans to be "tough negotiators".

As time runs low, many worry that the UK will crash out of the union's trading bloc without a deal.

The UK is seeking a free trade deal with maximum independence from EU rules. The EU wants to protect the integrity of its projects and to ensure the UK has no unfair competitive advantage in the future.