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Brexit talks set to be paused

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Britain and the EU finally gave up hope of holding formal Brexit negotiations amid the unfolding coronavirus crisis.

A U.K. government spokesperson said the two sides “will not formally be convening negotiating work strands tomorrow in the way we did in the previous round” in light of the latest guidance on the disease. Two government officials said there would not be negotiations this week, as previously planned.

“Both sides remain fully committed to the negotiations and we remain in regular contact with the European Commission to consider alternative ways to continue discussions, including looking at the possibility of video conferencing or conference calls, and exploring flexibility in the structure for the coming weeks,” the spokesperson said.

One Downing Street official said talks of some sort could still be possible this week through another informal mechanism. Either way, the government insisted the Brexit transition period will end in December this year, heightening the possibility of a no-deal Brexit. “The transition period ends on December 31, 2020,” the spokesperson said. “This is enshrined in U.K. law.”


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