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“Significant divergences remain” in UK-EU trade talks

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Credit: Andrew Parsons / No. 10 Downing Street. Licence: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

10 July 2020 | UK NEWS

The EU’s Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier, has said that there are still “significant divergences” between the EU and UK, following the conclusion of another week of trade talks.

Barnier also said, after talks with the UK’s Chief Negotiator, David Frost, that the EU will “continue working with patience, respect and determination”.

His comments come following the summit in mid-June, which was attended by both UK and EU leaders. Boris Johnson and EU counterpart Ursula von der Leyen had agreed over the course of this summit to intensify the trade talks between the two.

On Twitter, Barnier wrote:

This week’s discussions confirm that significant divergences remain between 🇪🇺 & 🇬🇧. We will continue working with patience, respect & determination.

Regardless of the outcome, there will be inevitable changes on 1/1/21.”

On Wednesday, Barnier had said that the discussions had been “useful” and they were “negotiating in good faith”.

There still seem to sticking points in the negotiations regarding both the future fisheries policy in the UK’s waters and the so-called “level playing field”, which would keep the standards between the two parties on the same terms.

A Government spokesman said today that the UK was committed to working hard to agreeing underlying principles for a post-Brexit deal with the European Union in talks this month. The spokesman added:

“The UK remains committed to working hard to find an early understanding on the principles underlying an agreement out of the intensified talks process during July, as agreed at the High-Level Meeting on 15 June.”

European Commission spokesman Daniel Farrie told reporters that they were “working hard to overcome the significant divergences that remain between us”.

He continued: “Meetings will continue in Brussels next week and the next round of negotiations will take place in the week of 20 July in London.”

When asked whether there were any positives from the talks, the spokesman said: “My answer will be very, very short there. We are working towards an agreement.”

The meetings at Downing Street this week were the first face-to-face meetings since the lockdown began. David Frost is expected to travel to Brussels next week to continue further negotiations.

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