EU, UK cancel face-to-face trade talks because of coronavirus

European Union negotiators cancelled next week’s visit to London for a second round of post-Brexit trade talks with the UK due to coronavirus concerns.

The negotiating teams said they were looking at alternative ways of continuing the negotiations, which are due to alternate between the EU’s headquarters and London.

“Given the latest COVID-19 developments, UK and EU negotiators have today jointly decided not to hold next week’s round of negotiations in London, in the form originally scheduled”, they said in a joint statement. “Both sides are currently exploring alternative ways to continue discussions, including if possible the use of video conferences”, they added.

The UK remains part of the bloc’s tariff-free single market and customs union within the transition period, which is due to end on 31 December. Prime minister Boris Johnson insists that the given deadline is enough to secure a comprehensive trade deal with the EU.

Under Brexit terms, the country can request a one-off extension to the transition for up two years. However, as the restriction measures for the pandemic have paralyzed almost all of Europe, opposition lawmakers from the Labour Party now say that Johnson should consider asking for an extension of the deadline.


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