Face-to-face negotiations between the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU) over a trade deal have restarted in London in a last-ditch attempt to find agreement with just five weeks to go before their current relationship ends.
EU negotiator Michel Barnier and the UK’s chief negotiator David Frost are working to secure a deal before the UK’s transition period with the EU ends on December 31.
It is the first time they have met face-to-face since Barnier went into self-isolation after a member of his team caught the novel coronavirus.
Both sides are calling for the other to compromise on the three main issues of contention – fishing, state aid and how to resolve any future disputes.
The UK left the bloc on January 31 this year and a “no-deal” final exit would snarl borders, spook financial markets and disrupt delicate supply chains that stretch across Europe and beyond.
A no-deal scenario is widely expected to cause economic chaos, with customs checks required at the borders.
The concern is particularly acute on the border between EU member Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland, where the sudden imposition of a hard border threatens the delicate peace secured by 1999’s Good Friday Agreement.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke to Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin on Friday evening, underlining his commitment to reaching a deal that respects the sovereignty of the UK, according to a statement.
A failure to reach an agreement would see the UK and the EU trading on World Trade Organization terms, with tariffs immediately imposed on goods travelling to and from the continent.
Source: News On Air