The European chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, admitted on Thursday that it is “unlikely”, in the current phase of negotiations, that the 27 member states of the European Union and the United Kingdom will reach a post-Brexit trade agreement, according to “The Guardian”.
At the end of a new round of negotiations in London, Barnier, who was chosen by Brussels to negotiate the future relationship with the United Kingdom, underlined that “little progress” has been achieved on two crucial issues: the conditions of fair competition and fisheries . The UK's position on these matters makes the conclusion “of a trade agreement unlikely”, he lamented.
Even so, Michel Barnier considered that the talks in the British capital were constructive.
The British Government has also admitted that it will not be possible to reach a post-Brexit agreement (the British exit from the EU bloc) with the EU by the end of July, considering that there are "areas of substantial disagreement", throwing a possible agreement to September.
"Unfortunately, it is clear that in July we will not reach an early understanding of the principles underlying any agreement that was set as an objective at the High Level Meeting on 15 June," said the UK's chief negotiator, David. Frost, in a statement.
At the time, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson expressed his belief in the possibility of an agreement by the end of this month.
However, according to Frost, the EU's proposals have so far failed to respond to the principles set by the British Government and therefore "remain areas of substantial disagreement".
The next round of negotiations is scheduled for next week in London and then negotiations will not resume until 17 August, reducing the time to reach an understanding, but Frost admits that an agreement is possible in September.
The transition phase that was negotiated after the United Kingdom formally left the EU on 31 January this year and maintained the country's access to European structures and the European single market ends on 31 December.
If the EU and its former partner are unable to reach an agreement by that date, only World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, including customs duties, will apply from January 2021 to trade relations between London and the 27 .