The latest round of negotiations between the EU and the UK broke up today, with both sides citing once again “significant differences”. Brussels claimed it was still working “constructively” but suggested that Britain’s top negotiator David Frost had failed to make the necessary concessions. A European Commission spokesman said: “The EU is engaging constructively and in good faith, as Michel Barnier pointed out earlier this week.
“We are working hard to overcome the significant divergences that remain between us.”
Mr Frost will travel to Brussels next week for further meetings.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been adamant that he will not allow the discussions to drag on into the autumn, arguing that British businesses and citizens need certainty on the way forward before then.
If the two sides are unable to reach a deal by the end of the current Brexit transition period at the end of the year, it will mean Britain leaving the single market and the customs union without any agreement on future access.
However, according to Dr Stephen Woolcock, head of the London School of Economics (LSE) ‘s International Trade Policy Unit and former consultant to the European Parliament and the European Commission, this scenario is actually very unlikely.
He told Express.co.uk: “My personal view is that the timetable is very short, so whatever is going to be negotiated will not be a deep agreement.
“But there will be one.
“There has never been a difficulty in negotiating a tariff agreement, despite what people said in the political debate.
“That is my guess.
“If you look at it rationally – there is mutual interest in reaching a tariff agreement.
“To negotiate anything more means longer negotiations, as everyone has been saying.”
Published at Thu, 09 Jul 2020 12:03:00 +0000