The Brussels negotiator insisted there are five areas of disagreement that currently prevent both sides from striking a free-trade agreement. After holding talks with counterpart David Frost, the Frenchman said the bloc would now have to prepare for a “very, very different” relationship after the end of the transition period on December 31. Mr Barnier said: “Our differences come as no surprise, especially after one round of negotiations but some are very, very difficult
“I continue to believe we can reach a good agreement for both sides, the past few days have been constructive.”
Currently, both sides have failed to agree on fisheries, the so-called level-playing field, criminal justice and law enforcement and, finally, the overall structure of the deal.
Despite the differences, the Brussels bureaucrat added: “An agreement is possible, even if difficult.”
Mr Barnier claimed British negotiators had asked the EU to consider annual talks to come to a fisheries agreement.
But he disregarded the possibility, insisting: “What we can do with Norway on 5 species simply isn’t possible for 100 species.
“The economic agreement will have to include a balanced solution for fisheries.”
The Frenchman vowed not to use fisheries as a lever in future relationship talks, claiming he would not use them to “bargain” on other areas of the negotiations – such as financial services.
Published at Thu, 05 Mar 2020 12:36:00 +0000