- Frost alleges the EU’s insistence on including a set of “novel and unbalanced proposals” is the biggest obstacle is reaching a mutual agreement.
- Michel Barnier, on the other hand, has always insisted that if the UK wants access to the EU internal market, it will do so on EU terms.
- The European Court of Justice and British fishing remain sticking points.
The UK and the European Union are still far apart, in as far as striking an agreement of trade arrangements is concerned. This became evident after the UK’s Brexit chief negotiator, David Frost, reported “very little” progress had been made, as per the outcome of the parties’ latest round of talks.
Frost alleges the EU’s insistence on including a set of “novel and unbalanced proposals” is the biggest obstacle is reaching a mutual agreement.
“The major obstacle to this is the EU’s insistence on including a set of novel and unbalanced proposals on the so-called ‘level playing field’ which would bind this country to EU law or standards, or determine our domestic legal regimes, in a way that is unprecedented in Free Trade Agreements and not envisaged in the Political Declaration.”
Frost added, “we have just completed our third negotiating round with the EU. I regret however that we made very little progress towards agreement on the most significant outstanding issues between us.” The latest round of talks between the UK and EU took place via video conference.
“Both sides have tabled full legal texts, there are plenty of precedents, and there is clearly a good understanding between negotiators,” he said, adding that agreements on issues such as law enforcement and aviation “could be agreed without major difficulties in the time available.”
The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, on the other hand, has always insisted that if the UK wants access to the EU internal market, it will do so on EU terms. That is, disputes must be decided by the European Court of Justice. “As soon as the EU recognizes that we will not conclude an agreement on that basis, we will be able to make progress,” says Frost.
He explains that EU dealers maintain that EU countries must have access to British fishing waters. It is, in a way, “that is incompatible with our future status as an independent coastal state,” he says. Barnier says the British totally refused to talk about fishing in the round of negotiations, which the EU negotiator describes as “very disappointing.”
Barnier adds that he does not see good chances of a deal coming this year. “We‘re not going to bargain away our values for the benefit of the British economy,” Barnier said. The deadline for negotiations is at the end of June, and if an amicable solution would not have been found by then, the British can apply to extend the negotiations.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative government passed the Brexit deal in the British parliament in January. However, the British are subject to EU rules until the new year. After that, the country is completely out of cooperation, unless an agreement is reached on a new relationship between the parties.