A post-Brexit trade deal with the UK is currently “unlikely” to be reached, EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier said on Thursday, after the latest round of talks.
For the agreement to be implemented by January 2021, when the UK is scheduled to leave the European single market, a trade deal needs to be reached by October, Barnier highlighted, accusing the country of lacking “readiness” and sufficient “engagement.”
“Over the past few weeks the UK has not shown the same level of engagement and readiness to find solutions respecting the EU fundamental principles and interests,” he said.
Britain’s negotiator, David Frost also commented that “It is unfortunately clear that we will not reach in July the ‘early understanding on the principles underlying any agreement’ that was set as an aim,” dashing UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s hopes that an outline of the principles of a deal could be reached by the end of July.
The two sides still have “considerable gaps,” as no progress was made on key areas, including fisheries and the so-called level playing field.
“The UK is effectively asking for near total exclusion of EU fishing vessels from UK waters,” EU’s chief Brexit negotiator said, adding that this is “simply unacceptable.”
“If you do not reach an agreement on our future partnership, there will be far more friction. For instance, on trading goods. In addition to new customs formalities, there will be tariffs and quotas,” he added, as the UK said it is still seeking an agreement similar to the one the EU has with Canada.
Barnier and Frost are due to meet for two days of informal talks next week, while a formal round of negotiations will follow in mid-August.