Boris Johnson is planning to talk directly to German Chancellor Angela Merkel as he seeks a breakthrough in Brexit trade negotiations with the European Union before a crucial summit this week.
The British prime minister has set a deadline of Oct. 15 for a deal to be struck — or to be within reach — on future trading terms with the EU, and he is stepping up his own involvement in the process in an effort to unblock negotiations.
On Saturday, Johnson spoke to French President Emmanuel Macron and he is also preparing for a possible call with Merkel, according to a person familiar with the matter.
If no clear deal is in sight by Thursday’s summit of EU leaders, the U.K. side has said it will be ready to call a halt to the negotiations on a free trade agreement and will instead focus efforts on preparing to exit the EU’s single market and customs union at the end of December without one.
That would revive the risk of damaging quotas and tariffs, raising costs and disruption to trade at the U.K. border. Even if no overarching trade agreement can be struck, both sides expect they would continue talking in preparation for the end of the Brexit transition period on Dec. 31.