London / Brussels (dpa) – Talks about a Brexit trade pact were interrupted on Friday evening. The reasons for this are differences in uniform competition conditions, fisheries and rules for compliance with the agreement.
After a week of intense negotiations in London, it was decided along with British negotiator David Frost that “the conditions for an agreement are not being met,” wrote EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier on Twitter.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson were due to discuss the state of affairs on Saturday afternoon. British negotiator Frost published an identical message on Twitter.
The talks often lasted late into the night, fueling hopes for an early conclusion. But failure also seemed possible. Finally it looked like the mood was getting worse again. It seems uncertain whether a breakthrough can occur at the highest level.
If an agreement is not reached in time, there will be tariffs and high trade barriers between Great Britain and the continent from the turn of the year. The transition phase after Britain leaves the EU ends on December 31.
Both sides had recently increased the pressure. British negotiators were complaining about alleged new demands from the EU, according to British media. This slowed down the conversations. A spokesman for the government in London said on Friday that the talks were at “a very difficult point”.
London had previously announced it would reinstate the controversial clauses of its internal market law, which is expected to return to the House of Commons on Monday. The bill met violent outrage in Brussels for calling into question parts of the exit deal already signed.
Meanwhile, Charles Michel, president of the EU Council, warned against a veto from the member states. “Member States will have to decide, as will the British side,” Michel said in Brussels. “Member States have to say yes or no, and if one side of the table says no, we have a no deal.”
Recently, French President Emmanuel Macron said he would only approve a treaty if his country’s long-term interests are preserved. This was seen as a threat of a right of veto.
The EU wants an agreement, but not at any cost, Michel said. It took two to come to an agreement, he added. Britain also has a responsibility. The EU is a powerful force when it comes to rules and standards. Britain had to decide what standards it wanted in the future.