Brexit negotiators for the European Union and the United Kingdom, Michel Barnier and David Frost, have separately noted on Friday that there has been no progress in their discussions on the future relationship between the two sides, as a deadline approaches at the end of June.
In Brussels, Barnier said he was “disappointed by the lack of ambition” in the UK’s discussions, following a new round of talks this week. Excluding “a few modest openings, no progress has been possible on the other, more difficult issues,” he said, describing the round as “disappointing”.
At the same time in London, Frost confirmed this lack of progress and called on the EU for a “change of approach” to reach an agreement. The Brit said he still believed an agreement was “possible” by the end of the transition period at the end of 2020.
The main stumbling block is the common rules of fair competition, which the EU wants as close as possible to its standards, while London wants greater freedom.
The United Kingdom exited the EU on 31 January this year, but the country remains linked to the customs union and the internal market for a transition period that will end on 31 December.
Until then, and unless an extension of this period is decided before the end of June, London and Brussels must agree on their future relations, mainly in trade and security matters.