Brexit: UK agrees to resume negotiations with Brussels

The United Kingdom decided to resume negotiations for a post-'Brexit 'trade agreement with the European Union in London, after the British Prime Minister declared the end of the dialogue.

Stefan Wermuth / Reuters

The UK decided to resume negotiations for a post-'Brexit 'trade agreement with the European Union (EU) in London later this week, days after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson declared the end of the dialogue.

The UK's chief negotiator, David Frost, announced on the social network Twitter that "a basis for negotiations with the EU has been reestablished" and that "intense negotiations" will start every day starting on Thursday afternoon in London .

The decision is a reaction to today's speech by the chief negotiator of the 27, Michel Barnier, in the European Parliament, in which he used a conciliatory tone and acknowledged that compromises will be needed from both sides to reach an agreement.

“I think an agreement is within reach, if we, on both sides, are willing to work constructively and in a spirit of compromise; if we move forward in the next few days, based on legal texts, as is our wish, ”said the Frenchman.

He added that it is necessary for both sides to be “prepared to face and resolve the most difficult issues in the coming days”, stressing that “the time is short, very short.

“We carefully studied Michel Barnier's statement to the European Parliament this morning. As the EU's chief negotiator, your words are trustworthy, ”says the London government in a statement.

London claims that Barnier reflected the demands made by Boris Johnson for the EU to fundamentally change its approach and recognize the UK's sovereignty, accepting to change some of its demands.

"It is clear that significant divergences remain between our positions in the most difficult areas, but we are ready, with the EU, to see if it is possible to bridge them in intensive negotiations," adds the statement.

The impasse focuses mainly on three themes: the access of European fishing fleets to British waters, the guarantees demanded by Brussels in terms of competition rules and state support to companies and what is the format of the dispute resolution mechanism in the future.

The United Kingdom left the European Union on 31 January 2020. In accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement, it is now officially a third country, so it no longer participates in the EU's decision-making process.

By common agreement, the EU and the United Kingdom have, however, decided to establish a transitional period, ending on 31 December 2020, during which it continues to apply the rules of the European bloc and maintains access to the single market.

In the absence of an agreement, customs tariffs will be imposed on trade between the United Kingdom and the European bloc as of January 01, 2021.

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