German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz hinted that he expects the European Union and Britain to seal a deal on their future relationship even if talks may go down to the wire.
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson had set an Oct. 15 deadline for an agreement, but will now make a decision on whether to end talks after EU leaders meet on Thursday and Friday, according to a person close to the negotiations. Both sides need time to ratify any deal by Dec. 31, meaning it would likely have to be in place by early November.
“It is always the right way to discuss questions that are difficult up to the last moment,” Scholz said Wednesday in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “My experience is that sometimes in the last moment you will find a solution.”
Scholz was speaking before a virtual meeting of Group of 20 finance ministers and central bank governors chaired by Saudi Arabia, where officials were due to extend a debt-relief initiative for the world’s poorest countries through at least the first half of 2021.
The German finance minister said it’s “absolutely key” that China participates in debt relief — Beijing is owed almost 60% of the money that the world’s poorest nations would be due to repay this year.
“It is important that we understand that it’s not just the traditional Paris Club countries that are relevant for the countries that are in a difficult situation,” Scholz said. “So it’s important that we include the others and this is also China. They have to be part of the solution.”
— With assistance by Aggi Cantrill