LONDON — Brexit negotiators broke the ongoing deadlock Wednesday afternoon and agreed to resume talks this week.
Following a phone call between U.K. and EU chief negotiators David Frost and Michel Barnier, Downing Street released a statement saying Britain was “ready to welcome the EU team to London to resume negotiations later this week.”
It means the two sides will move to “intensive” negotiations on a draft legal text for a deal. The breakthrough came after Barnier told the European Parliament Wednesday morning that “an agreement is within reach if both sides are willing to work constructively.”
Talks stalled last week when the U.K. put formal negotiations on hold after the European Council.
U.K. ministers and officials, including Frost, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove, said that without a signal from the EU that it is also ready to make concessions, rather than just expecting the U.K. to do so, formal talks could not resume.
But Barnier stressed Wednesday that the EU is ready to compromise in order to reach a deal. “We will seek the necessary compromises on both sides in order to reach an agreement and we will do so right up until the last day until it’s possible to do so. Our doors will remain open until the very end,” he told MEPs.
Following the call, a Downing Street spokesperson said Barnier had acknowledged its position. “On the basis of that conversation we are ready to welcome the EU team to London to resume negotiations later this week,” the spokesperson added. “We have jointly agreed a set of principles for handling this intensified phase of talks.”