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UPDATE: UK Says EU Making Post-Brexit Talks 'Unnecessarily Difficult'

Fri, 21st Aug 2020 11:12

(Alliance News) - The UK has accused the EU of making post-Brexit negotiations "unnecessarily difficult" and warned "time is running short for both sides" as talks threatened to stall.

David Frost, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's chief negotiator, said he believes a trade deal is still possible but warned "there has been little progress" after seven rounds.

His EU counterpart, Michel Barnier, also lamented the failure to make a breakthrough on the key area of fisheries where there has been "no progress whatsoever".

The latest round of talks took place in Brussels, with officials trying to agree a deal before the transition period ends on December 31.

After a breakfast meeting between the top negotiators on Friday, Frost said: "We have had useful discussions this week but there has been little progress."

Frost blamed the EU position on state aid and fishing policy as being a key stumbling block.

"The EU is still insisting not only that we must accept continuity with EU state aid and fisheries policy, but also that this must be agreed before any further substantive work can be done in any other area of the negotiation, including on legal texts," he said in a statement.

"This makes it unnecessarily difficult to make progress. There are other significant areas which remain to be resolved and, even where there is a broad understanding between negotiators, there is a lot of detail to work through.

"Time is short for both sides."

Meanwhile, Barnier told a press conference that law enforcement is an area "where we still struggle to agree on the necessary guarantees to protect citizens' fundamental rights and personal data".

"Apart from the question of a level playing field, there are still many other areas where progress is needed and, for example, obviously fisheries, where we have made no progress whatsoever on the issues that matter," he said.

The two sides are currently in a transition period where the UK follows the EU's rules and has access to the single market, but this will lapse at the end of the year.

Both parties have said any deal needs to be concluded by October in order to be ratified.

By Sam Blewett, Sophie Morris and Lewis McKenzie, PA Political Staff

source: PA

Copyright 2020 Alliance News Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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