Almost halfway through the Brexit transition period, both sides agree no real progress has been made.
It’s now time, negotiators say, for political leaders to get talks going again.
While top level officials on both sides of the Channel were focused on the coronavirus pandemic the last couple of months, they will now need to make a little space for Brexit once again after the fourth round of talks on the future relationship between the U.K. and the EU ended in deadlock on Friday. Major stumbling blocks remain — the level playing field of rules and standards, governance and fisheries.
“I don’t think we can go on like this forever,” the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said, while his U.K. counterpart David Frost added: “We are now at an important moment for these talks.”
Both sides will now look to the second half of the year for a deal under the auspices of the German presidency of the Council of the EU.
U.K. business lobby the Confederation of British Industry urged political leaders to intervene in order to prevent a “deeply damaging no deal.”
Deputy Director General Josh Hardie said: “An ambitious deal with the EU will be a cornerstone of the U.K.’s recovery from the pandemic. The stark reality is that most businesses are understandably unprepared for a dramatic change in trading relations with our biggest partner in just six months’ time.”
Here are the key dates to watch.
The two sides will take stock of progress after the first negotiating rounds at a so-called high-level conference in June,