EU, UK chiefs discuss COVID, Brexit – EU sources

EU Commission President von der Leyen meets British PM Johnson in Brussels
FILE PHOTO: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen welcomes British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Brussels, Belgium December 9, 2020. Olivier Hoslet/Pool via REUTERS

December 22, 2020

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke on disagreements over fisheries that are barring a new trade deal, as well as the latest on coronavirus, in a call on Monday, sources said.

EU sources added that the bloc was now willing to accept a reduction in the value of its catch in UK waters of up to 25% over a period of time from 2021.

The length of that, as well as agreeing how the bloc could retaliate should Britain cut its industry off afterwards were still the sticking points in trade talks just nine days before Britain leaves the bloc’s single market and customs union, meaning current trading rules will no longer apply.

European and other countries have also suspended most of travel from Britain since the weekend to try to curb a new faster spreading strain of the coronavirus.

(Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Alison Williams)