Fourth round of Brexit negotiations have concluded, EU and UK still remain far apart on core issues

Jun 08, 2020

The European Union and UK government have concluded their fourth round of talks on a post-Brexit trade deal and other aspects of their future relations. The negotiations took place from Tuesday 2 June 2020 to Friday 5 June 2020. The full agenda of the negotiations can be found here. The four-day negotiations by video conference saw the officials from the two blocs trying to make headway after the last three rounds yielded little progress.

Chief EU negotiator, Michel Barnier has said that there have been no significant areas of progress in latest round of trade negotiations with UK. Addressing a press conference on Friday afternoon, he also stated that there is a need to make progress on four big sticking points, namely:

  • Fisheries – No real willingness from UK to explore other approaches than zonal attachment on quota sharing. They also continue to condition access to their waters to an annual negotiation.

  • Level playing field (Free and fair competition) – No real progress even though the focus was on more consensual issues, such as non-regression mechanisms on social and environmental standards, climate change, taxation or sustainable development.

  • Police and judicial cooperation – A slightly more constructive discussion on the question of commitment to the European Convention on Human Rights.

  • Governance of the future relationship - No progress on the issue of the single governance framework establishing legal linkages between the different areas of cooperation for the EU and UK.

Stating the UK side, Chief UK negotiator, David Frost has released a statement saying that progress remains limited, however the negotiations were in a positive tone. He has also stated that the negotiations need to be concluded in good time to enable people and businesses to have clarity regarding the trading terms that will follow the end of the transition. 

Mr. Barnier has reiterated that the EU are still open to extending the transition by one or two years. However, if there is no joint decision, the UK will leave the single market and customs union in less than seven months’ time. Referring to the UK's command paper on Approaching the NI Protocol, Mr. Barnier says that while it is useful, there are a lot of details still to be decided, if they want to move from "aspiration to operation". 

Mr. Barnier said that both parties should hopefully be able to meet face to face by the end of June, before a "high-level" summit later this month.


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