Today Brussels trade negotiator Michel Barnier has returned to work ahead of talks with UK negotiator David Frost. Both parties are set to thrash out a timetable to reopen formal trade talks over a video link. An EU source has stated that the coronavirus crisis will continue to distract away from the conclusion of trade negotiations saying: “For the moment it is one week at a time and too early to start starting about the much longer term.”
On whether remote negotiations could prove successful, they added: “Anybody that is working on Brexit right now, that question is above their pay grade.
“Why bother with questions that are too big to tackle right now, they’ll be dealt with at a suitable time.”
Again the EU come out yesterday stating that it’s happy and willing to extend the negotiation deadline due to time is taken with dealing with the coronavirus. “The Withdrawal Agreement provides the possibility to extend the transition period why up to one to two years. We have always said that we are ready to discuss such an extension,”
But Rishi Sunak comes out defending the deadline after a journalist mentioned whether we would be extending negotiations. Rishi said: “The reality is we’ve left the European Union. We’ve left it with a deal that was negotiated with regards to our future relationship.”
“those talks are under way. We remain very committed to the timeline that we set out to conclude those by the end of this year.”
“What I can say is, David Frost our chief EU negotiator on behalf of the Prime Minister was in touch with his Deputy counterpart last week and with Michel Barnier, to make sure that we have a timeline in place for this phase of the negotiations which obviously can happen over video conferences, and text and legal Agreements are being exchanged between the EU and ourselves.”
“So I’m confident that that work can continue and hopefully reach a satisfactory conclusion, but we remain committed to the timeline that we’ve set out.”
In conclusion, yet again we see the excuses coming out of the EU stating that negotiations won’t be completed due to fighting the coronavirus. But time and time still we see the British government biting back saying we will NOT be extending talks due to the coronavirus crisis.
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