The United Kingdom must retain control of its laws, trade and water after its withdrawal from the European Union and will not budge on these issues, London’s Chief Negotiator, David Frost, warned on Sunday ahead of a new cycle of talks in Brussels on the future relationship with the EU.
“We are working to get a deal, but the only one that’s possible is one that is compatible with our sovereignty and takes back control of our laws, our trade and our waters,” Frost said in a message on Twitter. “That has been our consistent position from the start and I will not be changing it.”
Frost added that he was scheduled to meet EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier in the afternoon.
This week’s round of talks is viewed as one of the last negotiations that can lead to a trade agreement but, Frost wrote, “we may not succeed.”
The UK officially withdrew from the EU on 31 January, but the full effect of the separation will only be felt from 1 January 2021, when a transition period during which European norms continue to apply will have elapsed.
London and Brussels had promised to conclude a trade agreement free of quotas and tariffs by then to limit Brexit’s inevitable negative fallout as much as possible. However, with the end of the year just 50 days away, the discussions, while intensive, are at a stalemate.
There are at least three sticking points: competition guarantees requested by London, European access to Britain’s rich fishing grounds, and dispute settlement in the future agreement.
According to Frost, progress has been made in the past few days.
“We also now largely have common draft treaty texts, though significant elements are of course not yet agreed,” he wrote on Sunday. “We will work to build on these and get an overall agreement if we can.”