Jack Quann
Jack Quann

16.30 5 Jun 2020


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The EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michael Barnier says the UK is 'continuing to backtrack' on the commitments it has undertaken in the political declaration.

He made the remarks on Friday following a fourth round of negotiations for a new partnership between the European Union and Britain.

The talks have centred around fisheries, free and fair competition - the so-called ‘level playing field' - guarantees protecting people's fundamental rights and freedoms, and the governance of a future relationship.

But Mr Barnier said: "At the end of this week, my responsibility... is to tell you the truth.

"And the truth is that there was no substantial progress."

He said the UK "did not show any real willingness to explore other approaches than zonal attachment on quota sharing" on fisheries.

And that "we didn't make any progress" on rules of economic and commercial fair play.

While on the governance of a future relationship, he said the teams "were unable to make progress on the issue of the single governance framework establishing legal linkages between our different areas of cooperation."

However he noted there was a "slightly more constructive discussion" on police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters.

But Mr Barnier added: "Of course, in the coming months, I will continue to work in full confidence and transparency with the member states and the European Parliament".

But he said this negotiation is on the basis of a joint political declaration that sets out the terms of a future partnership.

"Yet, round after round, our British counterparts seek to distance themselves from this common basis," he said.

He also gave four examples, referring the text of the political declaration, from which he said talks were "very far from".

He added:  "[British] Prime Minister Johnson agreed, in paragraph 118 of the political declaration, to base our future relationship on an overarching institutional framework, with links between specific areas of cooperation.

"We are, once again, very far from this objective.

"In all these areas - and many others - the UK continues to backtrack on the commitments it has undertaken in the political declaration."

The UK left the bloc on January 31st, but is in a transition period until December 31st which keeps the country bound to most EU rules.

Britain has until the end of June to ask for the transition period to be extended into next year.

Main image: Michel Barnier. Picture via @MichelBarnier on Twitter

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Backtracking Brexit Britain EU Transition Period Michael Barnier No Substantial Progress

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