Serious divergences
According to a statement by Michel Barnier, the UK demands an agreement on fisheries that shows Brexit makes a real difference, while the EU seeks a balanced, sustainable and long-term solution for European fishermen. Image: European Commission

Serious divergences

As the deadline passes for an extension to the transition period, EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier warns that there remain ‘serious divergences’ following the latest four days of discussions between the EU and the UK.

He commented that discussions continued this week with a restricted number of experts on each side, and stated that the EU has sought to inject new dynamics in the talks.

‘Our goal was to get negotiations successfully and quickly on a trajectory to reach an agreement. However, after four days of discussions, serious divergences remain,’ he said, commenting that the EU side has listened carefully to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s statements in recent weeks, in particular, his request to reach a political agreement quickly, and his red lines: no role for the European Court of Justice in the UK, no obligation for the UK to continue to be bound by EU law – and an agreement on fisheries that shows Brexit makes a real difference.

‘The EU engaged constructively, as we had already done during the fourth round of negotiations in June. We did so in line with the mandate entrusted to the European Commission by the Council, with the support of the European Parliament,’ he said stating that the EU’s position remains, based on the Political Declaration, that there will be no economic partnership without robust guarantees for a level playing field – including on state aid – to ensure open and fair competition among our businesses, an overarching institutional framework and effective dispute settlement mechanisms and a balanced, sustainable and long-term solution for European fishermen and women.

‘We will continue to insist on parallel progress on all areas. The EU expects, in turn, its positions to be better understood and respected in order to reach an agreement. We need an equivalent engagement by the United Kingdom,’ Michel Barnier said.

‘We continue to believe that an agreement is possible and in everyone’s interest. We look forward to the next round of negotiations in the week of 20th July. As agreed, we will continue our discussions in London next week.’


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