Michel Barnier insists still no progress in Brexit trade talks

Friday, June 5, 2020

Michel Barnier has accused the UK of backtracking on a key agreement as he insisted still no progress had been made in striking a post-Brexit trade deal.

The EU’s chief negotiator said at the end of the fourth round of talks that the UK team had continually sought “to distance themselves” from the political declaration agreed by Boris Johnson.

He said at a press conference today: “My responsibility is to speak the truth and to tell the truth this week there have been no significant areas of progress.

“In all areas, the UK continues to backtrack under commitments undertaken in the political declaration, including on fisheries.

“We cannot and will not accept this backtracking on the political declaration.”

Mr Barnier’s British counterpart, David Frost, acknowledged that “limited” progress had been made, but maintained that talks had been “positive in tone”.

The latest round of discussions was the final one before a potentially make-or-break high-level summit later this month.

The UK will have to decide by the end of June whether it wishes to extend the current transition period to allow more time for trade negotiations.

Mr Barnier has said the “door is still open” for the UK to take this option, but the Prime Minister and the UK team have consistently vowed not to extend talks beyond 2020.

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