Michael Gove is right to say the only way the fourth round of the Brexit talks will be a success, is if the EU recognise the UK is a “sovereign equal”. So far were being treated like a fellow member state who’s expected to fall in line with their demands which certainly isn’t an equal footing if these talks are to progress. Conversations will restart in June with the government remaining committed to try and secure a deal with a free trade deal remaining at the heart of negotiations. With the EU maintaining such an ideological approach, difficult times are still ahead, especially with time running out and with the EU having so much on the line.
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The British negotiators remain steadfast on its messaging in regards to what they want from these talks; the EU lack in direction due to their hands being tied with 27 nations demanding different things. Michael Gove said to MPs: “We believe that agreement is possible if flexibility is shown and the agreements that we seek are of course built on the precedents of the agreements that the EU has reached with other sovereign nations.”
Mr Gove continued saying negotiators from both sides held “full and constructive” talks last week over videoconferencing, many areas were covered and legal texts were discussed. He explained: “The discussion underlined that a standard comprehensive free trade agreement alongside other key agreements on issues such as law enforcement, civil nuclear and aviation all in line with the political declaration could be agreed without significant difficulties in the time available. “There remain however some areas where we have a significant difference of principle, notably on fisheries, governance arrangements and the so-called level playing field. “The EU essentially wants us to obey the rules of their club even though we’re no longer members and they want the same access to our fishing grounds as they currently enjoy while restricting our access to their markets.”
Yesterday the UK government released its draft text, putting the onus back on the EU. This was a very clever ploy as now it’s up to the EU to release its text for transparency, especially after the EU was claiming the UK was unreasonable during discussions. If the EU publishes its documents, then we the public can see what both sides are asking for. If these talks are to go forwards positively, then the baseline needs to be respecting both sides as sovereign equals which the EU find challenging to do.