Brexit Bulletin, 27 April 2020

Apr 27, 2020

Lack of progress in latest post-Brexit trade talks, says EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier

EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier has said that there is a lack of progress and engagement from the UK on key post-Brexit negotiation issues. These remarks were made at a press conference following the end of the second round of Brexit negotiations. The full agenda for the second round of discussion from 20-24 April 2020 can be viewed here. Discussions resumed this week by videoconference after a six-week standstill amid the COVID-19 crisis. The next two rounds of talks are scheduled for 11 May and 1 June. Take a look at some of the key takeaway points from the press conference in today’s bulletin.

Key takeaway points from the press conference were as follows: 

  • There has only been partial progress this week, the UK is failing to act on commitments set out in the Withdrawal Agreement
  • The UK cannot refuse to extend the transition period, while slowing down discussions in important areas
  • Barnier notes the UK's rejection of an extension to the transition period, saying this decision will have consequences. "Time is short", he said, "once again the clock is ticking"
  • As well as future relations, it is urgent that the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement must be respected - especially on the Ireland/Northern Ireland protocol
  • We need clear evidence that the UK is advancing with the agreed customs procedures for goods entering NI from GB", and that UK can carry out SPS and regulatory checks on goods entering NI from GB from 1 January 2021
  • Talks this week have been "disappointing" in several areas: including the commitment to a level playing field, governance of future arrangements, and the role of the European Court of Justice
  • No progress on fisheries so far. On this essential issue the UK has put forward no paper. The EU will not agree to any future economic partnership that does not include a balanced and sustainable agreement on fisheries.
  • The next two rounds of talks are scheduled for 11 May and 1 June.


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