Brexit talks: Barnier sees no progress | Free press

The transition phase of Brexit will end in less than four weeks and the UK faces massive changes. How hard it will hit both sides thereafter is negotiating under great pressure today – still with an uncertain outcome.

Brussels / London (dpa) – After the restart of negotiations on a Brexit trade pact, EU negotiator Michel Barnier still sees no significant progress, according to diplomats. There is cause for pessimism, a diplomat said Monday morning after Barnier briefed the EU ambassador.

The same problems persisted. Negotiations would continue. Another diplomat added the balance on Monday evening.

“The outcome is not yet known,” said a third diplomat. “The EU is poised to make the final effort to find a fair, sustainable and balanced deal for the citizens of the EU and the UK. It is now up to the UK to choose between such a positive result and a no-deal. “

The British side had previously denied reports that there had been a breakthrough in the controversial fisheries issue last weekend. This is one of the bottlenecks. Particularly controversial are the EU’s demand for fair conditions of competition and the tools to punish violations of the planned agreement. This should settle trade relations as early as January. That is why the negotiators are under enormous time pressure.

Barnier has been in talks with his British colleague David Frost since Sunday after a short break. On Saturday evening, EU Commissioner Ursula von der Leyen and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke on the phone and discovered serious differences of opinion. Nevertheless, they agreed to continue the talks. They want to call again on Monday evening.

There’s a lot at stake: Without a trade deal, there will be tariffs and other trade barriers between Britain and the continent around the turn of the year. Because then the Brexit transition period will end, in which everything has remained the same despite the UK’s departure from the EU on January 31. The economy on both sides of the English Channel fears upheaval in the event of a no deal Brexit.

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