UK hits back at EU’s accusations that trade discussions weren’t progressing

The UK hit at EU’s accusations that trade discussions weren’t progressing as expected. A UK government spokesman said: “This was a complete and constructive negotiating round, conducted remotely by video conference, also using a whole range of discussions across all the topics, on the grounds of their extensive legal texts supplied by both sides. “But, limited progress was made in bridging the gaps between us and the EU.” 

The UK blamed this on the EU’s offer on goods trade, they state “falls well short of recent precedent in FTAs it has agreed with other sovereign nations.” “Additionally, there are important differences of principle in other regions. By way of instance, we will not make progress on the so-called ‘level playing field’ as well as the governance provisions before the EU drops its insistence on imposing conditions on the UK that are not found in the EU’s other transaction agreements and which do not appear because we’ve left the EU as an independent state. 

“On fisheries, the EU’s mandate appears to require us to accept a continuance of the present quotas agreed under the Common Fisheries Policy. We’ll only be able to make progress here on based on this fact that the UK will have the right to manage its waters at the end of the calendar year,” the spokesman said. Earlier in the afternoon, EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said the bloc was disappointed with the lack of progress in discussions with the United Kingdom. 

“Our objective for concrete progress has been very partially met this week,” Barnier said at a press conference, blaming the UK for “not committing severely to quite a few points,” which were mutually agreed by the two sides in a joint political declaration attached to the withdrawal agreement. 

The political period of Brexit stopped on Jan. 31, with the UK leaving the bloc after 47 years of membership but staying an EU member till the end of this year. The UK and EU need to agree to the terms of the future financial alliance by Dec. 31 or extend the transition period. The deadline for this request is June 30; however, the British government has said it won’t seek an extension. 

Barnier named the areas where “the advancement was unsatisfactory” as trade, fisheries, and legal alliance. The EU is asking the UK to maintain standards on social issues, environmental security and state aid regulation. EU is also not willing “to agree on any upcoming venture with no balanced, yet long-term sustainable solution on fisheries,” Barnier said. The EU’s terms demand reciprocal access and cap the fishing using quotas. 

The bloc also needs the UK to comprehend that the support of the European Court of Justice in all areas of collaboration, as well as to recognize the power of the European Convention of Human Rights, particularly. “The truth is that a market of 66-million customers is negotiating with a market of 450-million consumers,” Barnier said.

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