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The most recent spherical of Brexit talks has ended with “no significant progress” on a raft of key areas, the EU’s chief negotiator has mentioned.
Michel Barnier informed reporters that deadlocked talks on Britain’s future ties with the bloc couldn’t “go on like this forever” – because the UK mentioned it was “close to reaching the limits” of what might be achieved.
Punchy statements from the chief negotiators made clear that the 2 sides stay at loggerheads over points together with fisheries, the position of the European Court docket of Justice, and the EU’s demand for a number of “level-playing field” commitments on rights and requirements in change for entry to the bloc’s single market.
Talking at a press convention in Brussels, Mr Barnier mentioned that whereas each side had proven “great respect for each other”, he had an obligation to “speak the truth and to tell the truth this week there have been no significant areas of progress”.
On fisheries, the place the 2 sides are thrashing out entry to Britain’s waters as soon as the present EU-wide quota system not applies, Mr Barnier mentioned: “The UK haven’t proven any true will to discover different approaches past zonal attachment for the sharing of quotas.
“They continue to condition access to waters to annual negotiation which is not possible for us, not even technically possible. The EU wants to construct a stable economic partnership, that’s always been our desire.”
He mentioned there had been “no progress there either” on the level-playing discipline push, whereas there remained “still a long way away on building a framework” for the way any future deal can be ruled.
On cross-border legislation enforcement, Mr Barnier mentioned the 2 sides had had “a more constructive discussion”, however mentioned there remained “some important questions open as to how all that would be reflected in the agreement itself”.
And he pointed again to the pledges made by each Britain and the UK final yr as they agreed on the divorce deal that formally ended the UK’s membership of the EU and kicked off a year-long transition interval.
“On these points, as on other points, all we’re asking for is the political declaration to be respected and complied with,” Mr Barnier mentioned.
“There was no vital progress on these factors, as I’ve mentioned, not because the begin of the negotiations.
“And I don’t think we can go on like this forever. On top of that, the UK as you know have refused to extend the transition period, in other words, to allow more time for negotiations.”
Mr Barnier mentioned the EU’s door was “still open” to extending the transition interval, which presently sees the UK tied to the bloc’s guidelines till the top of this yr.
“It’s possible and written into the agreement. Our door is still open to that end,” he mentioned.
“Nonetheless, if there is no such thing as a joint determination in direction of such an extension, as we perceive is the case now, if there is no such thing as a change, the UK will go away the one market and the customs on the 30th December, that’s lower than seven months away from now.
“Now if we take into account we have to have in terms of time to ratify an agreement, we have to have legal text at the latest on the 31st October. And that leaves us about five months, give or take, a bit less in fact. We have to use this time as efficiently as possible.”
In his personal assertion, Britain’s chief negotiator David Frost mentioned the newest talks – which have been once more held remotely amid the coronavirus pandemic – had been “a little shorter than usual and more restricted in scope”, with the 2 sides discussing “the most difficult” points.
And he mentioned: “Progress remains limited but our talks have been positive in tone. Negotiations will continue and we remain committed to a successful outcome.”
However Mr Frost added: “We are actually at an essential second for these talks.
“We’re near reaching the bounds of what we will obtain via the format of distant formal Rounds. If we’re to make progress, it’s clear that we should intensify and speed up our work.
“We’re discussing with the Fee how this may finest be carried out.
“We need to conclude this negotiation in good time to enable people and businesses to have certainty about the trading terms that will follow the end of the transition period at the end of this year, and, if necessary, to allow ratification of any agreements reached.”
The UK’s chief negotiator mentioned Britain remained “willing to work hard to see whether at least the outline of a balanced agreement, covering all issues, can be reached soon”.
However it warned that any deal “must, of course, accommodate the reality of the UK’s well-established position on the so-called ‘level playing field’, on fisheries, and the other difficult issues”.
“For our half, we’re keen to work arduous to see whether or not a minimum of the define of a balanced settlement, overlaying all points, might be reached quickly.
“Any such deal must, of course, accommodate the reality of the UK’s well-established position on the so-called ‘level playing field’, on fisheries, and the other difficult issues.”
UK sources recommended that elementary variations remained with the bloc on fisheries, with Britain persevering with to push Brussels for a separate fisheries settlement, whereas the EU remained dedicated to tying an settlement over waters to a wider free commerce settlement.
British negotiators proceed to consider that the EU’s name for a raft of level-playing commitments, which it argues are required for a excessive stage of entry to its market, transcend what has been anticipated of different international locations together with Japan and Canada.
The UK is in the meantime pushing again strongly on the European Court docket of Justice enjoying a job in mediating disagreements between the 2 sides in any future deal.