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UK's Johnson, EU leaders to assess Brexit progress

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EU chiefs and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson have agreed to assess progress on their talks for a post-Brexit trading relationship next week, an EU spokesman said on Thursday.

[BRUSSELS] EU chiefs and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson have agreed to assess progress on their talks for a post-Brexit trading relationship next week, an EU spokesman said on Thursday.

Mr Johnson will talk to the heads of the three main EU institutions - the commission, parliament and council - to take stock of their negotiations, according to the spokesman for European Council chief Charles Michel.

The conference call, the first to be held at such a high level, comes as negotiations on a new trade agreement between the two sides have stalled with just six months to go before Britain leaves the EU single market and customs union.

The so-called transition period ends for Britain - which left the EU on January 31 after 47 years inside the European project - on December 31.

And if the two sides have not reached a free trade agreement by then, the economic consequences could be potentially devastating, particularly in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

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A British government spokesman said the two sides had agreed an "intensified timetable" for trade negotiations in July.

The new process would involve "a mix of formal negotiating rounds and smaller group meetings, both in London and Brussels", the spokesman said, explaining that discussions would be held every week between June 29 and July 27.

In addition to British PM Johnson and Charles Michel, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and EU Parliament President David Sassoli will also join the call on June 15.

AFP

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