In a set of draft European Council conclusions, to be adopted this week, capitals welcomed the UK and EU’s pledge to intensify efforts to reach an agreement this summer. But they will warn businesses and EU institutions that they should also ramp up preparations for a new trading relationship with Britain – including a no deal. The draft document “calls upon member states, Union institutions and all stakeholders to step up their work on preparedness and readiness at all levels for all outcomes, including that of no agreement”.
Describing the state of the negotiations, the European Council “takes note of the limited progress achieved in the negotiations until now”.
European capitals warned against chief negotiators Michel Barnier and David Frost from entering into so-called secret “tunnel negotiations”.
EU member states “welcome the plans agreed by the Chief Negotiators to to intensify the negotiation process and to create the most conducive conditions for reaching an agreement before the end of 2020 while recalling that negotiations have to be carried out in a way that ensures that the Council remains fully informed of any developments”.
Last week Boris Johnson, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Council President Charles Michel agreed to intensify the Brexit talks.
During a high-level video conference, they vowed to work towards achieving a political agreement by next month.
A Brussels source said Mrs von der Leyen was optimistic about the chances of a deal following her talks with the Prime Minister.
The source said the German has instructed Mr Barnier to seek common ground with his UK counterpart, Mr Frost.
The Commission President wants the EU’s negotiating team to “take a step back” and review its demands for continued access to Britain’s fishing waters and the so-called “level playing field”, the source added.
She is understood to believe the EU should soften its approach in order to broker a compromise.
She is even ready to accept the UK’s demand for full sovereignty over its coastal waters, it has been claimed.
Negotiations are expected to resume in Brussels on June 29, with a new focus on political conversations between the most senior officials on both sides.
Subsequent rounds throughout will be held between London and the Belgium capitals.
The two sides have also agreed to the possibility of holding talks in August and September if they believe a deal is possible.
Published at Mon, 22 Jun 2020 10:03:00 +0000