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Britain, EU start key week of Brexit talks with 'better mood music'

Mon, 28th Sep 2020 11:19

By Gabriela Baczynska

BRUSSELS, Sept 28 (Reuters) - The European Union and Britain
start a decisive week of talks on Monday on a new trade deal and
implementing their divorce agreement before national leaders
assess progress or the risk of a no-deal split on Thursday and
Friday.

Negotiations this year have stumbled over fisheries, fair
competition and settling disputes, and Brexit talks descended
into new chaos this month when London proposed draft laws that
would undermine its earlier EU divorce bill.

An EU diplomat said however that "the mood music was a bit
better" after Britain's Brexit supremo Michael Gove expressed
confidence about securing a trade deal.

"It's high time that negotiations move forward, we need to
make progress on issues like the level playing field, fisheries
and governance," the diplomat told Reuters on condition of
anonymity.

"The UK still has to restore trust after the Internal Market
Bill escalation."

Gove meets a deputy head of the bloc's executive Commission,
Maros Sefcovic, on Monday in the Joint Committee tasked with
implementing the divorce treaty and now looking at the
contentious new UK laws.

"We are looking forward to continuing our discussions at the
Joint Committee and working towards a satisfactory outcome for
both sides," a UK government spokeswoman said.

Trade talks headed by the EU's Michel Barnier and the UK's
David Frost resume in Brussels on Tuesday. Lasting until Friday
morning and also due to cover energy cooperation and transport,
they are the final round of negotiations scheduled so far.

EU leaders meeting in Brussels on Thursday and Friday are
expected to authorise more negotiations before their next summit
on Oct. 15-16.

But Ireland - the EU country most affected by Brexit - is
planning to raise Brexit this week and the leaders will hear
whether this week's ninth negotiating round brought the chance
of a breakthrough.

The EU says negotiators must seal a deal by the end of
October or the first days of November at the latest, to leave
enough time for ratification by the European Parliament and some
national parliaments so a deal can take effect from 2021 when
Britain's post-Brexit transition ends.
(Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Giles Elgood)

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