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EU, British Leaders Hold Crisis Talks Amid Paused Brexit Talks

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson are to hold crisis talks on Saturday after chief negotiators called a break in post-Brexit trade negotiations on Friday over stalled progress.

After a week of intensive talks, both sides agreed on Friday evening “that the conditions for an agreement are not met,” EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier and his British counterpart David Frost wrote in a joint statement.

According to EU and British officials, the outcome of von der Leyen’s and Johnson’s talks in the early evening remains open.

Von der Leyen and Johnson will not negotiate on the terms on Saturday but rather discuss how to revive the talks, an EU official said.

Britain and the European Union are running out of time to reach an agreement.

Britain left the bloc formally at the end of January, but is still in the EU single market until December 31. If there is no deal in place by this deadline, the harshest of tariffs and cumbersome custom checks would be reimposed, potentially wreaking economic havoc.

As well as striking a deal, time is needed to ratify any agreement.

Progress continues to be blocked by three long-standing areas of discord, according to the negotiators’ statement: fisheries, the governance of disputes and competition assurances.

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