British and European Brexit negotiators will continue Monday to discuss the future relationship between the EU and the United Kingdom. Earlier sessions yielded little. According to European negotiator Michel Barnier, the British are slowing down the negotiation rhythm on “very important matters”, he complained again on Friday.
At the end of this year, the British will disappear permanently from the European Union. However, little is known about future relations with the EU. Negotiators try to work out details of a new free trade agreement in various rounds of negotiations. If London and Brussels do not reach an agreement before the end of this year, there will still be a hard Brexit. According to Barnier, the clock is ticking more than ever. A new round of negotiations, forced by video conference, will start on Monday afternoon, due to the corona virus.
The British want the negotiations to progress in a constructive way, a spokesman for the British government said earlier Friday.
“The UK remains determined to conclude a free trade agreement, as the EU has already done with several other countries.”
The UK government is said to be only willing to make progress in the areas where it has interests. This concerns matters such as transport and trade in goods and services. Matters of interest to the EU, such as fisheries or provisions to ensure a level playing field for British and European companies, would be less open to negotiations by the British.
The United Kingdom officially left the European Union on January 31, but will continue to follow all EU rules for the time being until the end of the transition period. Next month, negotiators will have to decide if they want to extend that phase, but London will not, even now that the corona virus is kicking the negotiating calendar.
An EU diplomat said to expect movement on the British side from September this earliest.