Negotiations between the EU and the UK on their post-Brexit relationship remain difficult and do not seem to yield any progress, EU negotiator Michel Barnier said on Thursday evening.
The UK is currently in a transition period as, while it has left the EU at the end of January, the country remains in the EU customs union and single market until 31 December 2020.
An eighth round of talks between Europe and the UK, which had been taking place since Tuesday in London, concluded on Thursday.
In a brief statement, Michel Barnier said that the EU is "intensifying its preparedness work to be ready for all scenarios on 1 January 2021.”
Between the lines, it states that it will be necessary to be ready for a "no deal,” as the disparities remain enormous while there is little time left. However, “nobody should underestimate the practical, economic and social consequences of a ‘no deal’ scenario,” Barnier warned.
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At the same time, “the EU remains committed to an ambitious future partnership with the UK,” he said. “This would clearly be to the benefit of both sides.”
“The EU has shown flexibility to work around the UK's red lines and find solutions that fully respect the UK's sovereignty,” Barnier said.
“However, on its side, the UK has not engaged in a reciprocal way on fundamental EU principles and interests,” Barnier said.
The Brussels Times