London & Brussels Agree To One Last Round Of Trade Talks As Optimism For A Deal Sours

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Despite Boris Johnson's insistence that the round of post-Brexit trade deal talks that wrapped up late last week would be the end of the line, finally, after more than three years of extremely tedious negotiations - first, to establish post-withdrawal 'transition' period/framework for future trade talks (the transition period officially ends Jan. 1), then to work out a trade deal governing the €500BN+ in annual bilateral trade between the UK and members of the EU27 - it appears BoJo and his colleagues in Brussels have enough strength left for one more go of it.

Despite the fact that another extension so close to the end will frustrate hardcore Brexiteers like Nigel Farage, as well as many of the millions of Britons who voted in favor of Brexit more than four years ago, the British prime minister and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen have agreed to one more round of talks following a "useful" phone call on Sunday, their third in eight days. The two leaders reportedly agreed that it's worth "going the extra mile" despite the fact that little, if any, progress has been made on the three main stumbling blocks to a deal.

The extension follows German Chancellor Angela Merkel's exhortation that the two sides "should try everything to achieve a result". In a joint statement, the two sides acknowledged that "despite the fact that deadlines have been missed over and over we think it is responsible at this point to go the extra mile."

"We had a useful phone call this morning. We discussed the major unresolved topics. Our negotiating teams have been working day and night over recent days. And despite the exhaustion after almost a year of negotiations, despite the fact that deadlines have been missed over and over we think it is responsible at this point to go the extra mile. We have accordingly mandated our negotiators to continue the talks and to see whether an agreement can even at this late stage be reached."

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