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Britain and EU resume Brexit talks as negotiations enter 11th hour

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Britain's chief negotiator David Frost (L) and EU's Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier arrive for a working breakfast after a seventh round of talks, in Brussels on August 21, 2020. (Photo by YVES HERMAN / POOL / AFP) (Photo by YVES HERMAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Britain's chief negotiator David Frost (L) and EU's Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier. Talks have been stuck in limbo for months, as neither side was ready to concede on these sticking points. Photo by Yvew Herman / POOL / AFP via Getty Images

UK prime minister Boris Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen have told Brexit negotiators to resume talks this morning, as time ticks away for the EU and UK to bridge some significant differences ahead of the end of the transition period.

Talks were revived this weekend, having stalled on Friday over three of the most contentious issues for both sides — fisheries, ensuring fair competition guarantees and ways to solve future disputes.

Talks have been stuck in limbo for months, as neither side was ready to concede on these sticking points.

However, there is still some hope that the pair can secure a deal which would govern nearly $1trn (£740bn) in trade per year.

Britain left the EU on 31 January, entering a transition period which runs until the end of the year.

READ MORE: 'Huge consequences': Dutch fishing industry weighs up cost of no-deal Brexit

France’s European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune told the Sunday weekly publication Journal de Dimanche this morning that any agreement on fisheries must be based on “large and lasting” access to British waters.

He said that Britain could not demand access to the EU’s single market and set its own terms over fisheries.

He said: “We know that the days of full access to fish quotas in British territorial waters are over. But we must have a large and lasting access.”

Yesterday, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, said that "further effort" will be made to break the deadlock.

In a televised statement, following an hour-long discussion with Johnson, she said: "In a phone call today on the on-going negotiations between the EU and the UK, we welcomed the fact that progress has been achieved in many areas.

"Nevertheless, significant differences remain on three critical issues: level playing field, governance and fisheries. Both sides underlined that no agreement is feasible if these issues are not resolved.

"Whilst recognising the seriousness of these differences, we agreed that a further effort should be undertaken by our negotiating teams to assess whether they can be resolved.

"We are therefore instructing our chief negotiators to reconvene tomorrow in Brussels.”

Watch: What happens if no Brexit deal is reached?

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