Michel Barnier: EU ‘will not act in haste’ in Brexit trade talks

Friday, May 15, 2020

The European Union’s chief negotiator has warned that the bloc will not rush a post-Brexit trade deal, as Britain and Brussels look continue to lock horns.

As the second round of discussions concluded today, Michel Barnier said: “The EU wants a modern, unprecedented forward-looking agreement, not a narrow one rooted in past precedents and sliced-up sector by sector."

He added: “Our future partnership will be shaped by the choices we make this year together. The EU will not act in haste on such an important matter.”

The UK’s chief negotiator David Frost also said in a statement today that “very little progress” has been made in the recent talks.

He said the EU’s “novel and unbalanced” demands on the so-called level playing field, which ties the UK to certain EU standards, was the “major obstacle”.

He added: “As soon as the EU recognises that we will not conclude an agreement on that basis, we will be able to make progress.”

Mr Frost called for “a change in EU approach” ahead of the next set of talks beginning on June 1 and his EU counterpart also called on officials to “make a success” of round three.

Mr Barnier said: “The next round must bring new dynamism in order to avoid a stalemate between us.”

Both sides will take stock next month to see if a deal is possible by the end of the year, when the transition period ends.

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