Britain, EU fail to bridge gaps in future relationship talks

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Britain and the European Union showed little sign of progress towards a deal on their post-Brexit relationship this week, failing to bridge differences over future competition and EU fishing access to British waters.

EU’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier gives a news conference after Brexit negotiations, in Brussels, Belgium, April 24, 2020. Olivier Matthys/Pool via REUTERS

The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier told a news conference on Friday that Britain had set a tight deadline by ruling out an extension to the Brexit transition period beyond the end of 2020.

“The United Kingdom cannot impose this very short calendar for negotiations and at the same time not move, not progress on certain subjects that are important for the European Union,” he said.

The transition period could be extended by a year or two, but Britain would have to request this by the end of June. There are only two further weeks of negotiating rounds scheduled before then – from May 11 and June 1

Britain described the second round of talks as “full and constructive”, but said in a statement that the two sides had made limited progress in bridging gaps.

There were “significant differences of principle” and the European Union was making demands it had not sought from other trading partners, it said. Brussels says Britain’s proximity and already close ties to Europe means it is an exceptional case.


The European Commission, which is negotiating on behalf of the 27 EU members, sent to London a 350-page text on March setting out the EU’s position. Barnier said Britain had only sent texts back on c

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