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Michel Barnier back in London to negotiate

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator said he would visit the UK capital on Friday to continue discussions on a post-Brexit trade deal with the UK.

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator said he would visit the UK capital on Friday to continue discussions on a post-Brexit trade deal with the UK.

(AFP) – Interrupted last week after a case of covid-19 in the French negotiator’s team, face-to-face negotiations are about to resume. And time is running out. London and Brussels have only a few weeks left to agree on an agreement that would enter into force on January 1, when the United Kingdom, which officially left the EU on January 31, will cease to apply. European standards on a transitional basis.

Several European sources had suggested in recent days that Michel Barnier would only go to the British capital in the event of “positive signals” from the other side of the Channel. The Europeans say they are tired and frustrated by the stagnation in the negotiations, but there is no question for them of stopping the discussions. “The same major differences persist,” regretted in his tweet the Frenchman, who is due to take stock of the negotiations on Friday with the member states, then with the fisheries ministers of the few countries particularly concerned by this issue.

Access for European fishermen to British waters is one of the three sticking points in the talks with the competition guarantees demanded of the British and how to settle disputes in the future agreement. Without a trade treaty on January 1 to govern their relationship, London and Brussels run the risk of a new economic shock, which would come on top of that caused by the coronavirus epidemic.

The discussion is all the more complicated since it is also necessary to give the European and British Parliaments time to ratify this agreement. The European Parliament is ready to ratify an agreement until the last days of December, but several sources consider that without a final text next week, this schedule will be complicated to keep.


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