Following discussions between Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, and David Frost, the UK’s chief negotiator, together with a restricted number of experts on each side, Mr Barnier said that the EU “sought to inject new dynamics in the talks”. The goal was “to get negotiations successfully and quickly on a trajectory to reach an agreement”. However, he said, after four days of discussions, “serious divergences remain”.
Mr Barnier explained that the EU had listened carefully to the UK Prime Minister’s statements in recent weeks, in particular, his request to reach a political agreement quickly, and his red lines: no role for the Court of Justice of the EU in the UK; no obligation for the UK to continue to be bound by EU law; and an agreement on fisheries that shows Brexit makes a real difference.
Mr Barnier said that the EU’s position remains, based on the Political Declaration, that there will be no economic partnership without:
- robust guarantees for a level playing field, including on state aid, to ensure open and fair competition among its businesses;
- a balanced, sustainable and long-term solution for European fishermen and women; and
- an overarching institutional framework and effective dispute settlement mechanisms.
Further, he said that the EU will “continue to insist on parallel progress on all areas”. Mr Barnier also said that the EU expects, in turn, “its positions to be better understood and respected in order to reach an agreement”, and that it needs “an equivalent engagement by the United Kingdom”.
To conclude, Mr Barnier said that the EU still believes “that an agreement is possible and in everyone’s interest”.
The next round of formal negotiations starts in the week of 20 July 2020. In the meantime, discussions will continue in London this week. To read Mr Barnier’s statement in full, click here.