Considerable gaps remain between EU and UK following latest Brexit talks, says UK negotiator

Considerable gaps remain between EU and UK following latest Brexit talks, says UK negotiator
Brexit

UK and EU negotiators have not yet reached any agreement following intensified talks between the two sides in July, the UK’s chief EU negotiator says.

David Frost said “considerable gaps remain in the most difficult areas” following the latest round of talks in London.

In a statement, he said: “It is unfortunately clear that we will not reach in July the ‘early understanding on the principles underlying any agreement’ that was set as an aim at the high-evel meeting on June 15.”

He added: “We have also had constructive discussions on trade in goods and services, and in some of the sectoral agreements, notably on transport, social security cooperation, and participation in EU programmes. We have also continued to deepen our understanding of each other’s constraints on law enforcement.

“But considerable gaps remain in the most difficult areas, that is, the so-called level playing field and on fisheries.

“We have always been clear that our principles in these areas are not simple negotiating positions but expressions of the reality that we will be a fully independent country at the end of the transition period.”


Speaking at a press conference in London after the conclusion of the latest round of negotiations, the EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said: “In June the Prime Minister Boris Johnson told us that he wanted to reach a political agreement quickly.

“The Prime Minister also stated three red lines.

“Number one; no role for the European Court of Justice in the UK.

“Number two; the right to determine future UK laws without constraints.

“Number three; an agreement on fisheries that shows that Brexit makes a real difference compared to the existing situation.”

Mr Barnier said: “What Boris Johnson writes and says matter to the EU.

“Therefore, following the high-level meeting we agreed to intensify our discussions.”

He added: “We have tried to understand how these three red lines can be squared with our commitment to a comprehensive new partnership as set out in the Political Declaration signed by Prime Minister Johnson on October 17 last year.” 

He said the EU had engaged “sincerely”, adding: “Over the past few weeks the UK has not shown the same level of engagement and readiness to find solutions respecting the EU fundamental principles and interests.”

European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, right, speaks with the British Prime Minister's Europe adviser David Frost during Brexit trade talks between the EU and the UK, at EU headquarters in Brussels. Picture: Olivier Hoslet. Pool Photo via AP, File
European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, right, speaks with the British Prime Minister's Europe adviser David Frost during Brexit trade talks between the EU and the UK, at EU headquarters in Brussels. Picture: Olivier Hoslet. Pool Photo via AP, File

Mr Barnier said the EU and UK have until “October at the latest” to strike a deal or risk the imposition of quotas and tariffs.

He said: “If we do not reach an agreement on our future partnership there will be far more friction.

“For instance, on trading goods, in addition to new customs formalities there will be tariffs and quotas.

“This is the truth of Brexit… and I will continue to tell the truth.

“If we want to avoid this additional friction we must come to an agreement in October at the latest so that our new treaty can enter into force on January 1 next year.

“This means that we only a few weeks left and that we should not waste it.”



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