Negotiations between the European Union and the United Kingdom on a trade agreement as of January 1, 2021, have still not progressed.
The seventh round of negotiations in Brussels has not led to sufficient progress, EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said afterwards. “I am disappointed and worried,” said the Frenchman.
The EU and British teams had returned to work this week after a brief summer break. An agreement must be reached by the end of October to complete it technically and legally on time, Barnier warned. For example, the European Parliament must approve the treaty.
Barnier said he was “surprised” at the lack of ambition on the British side because Prime Minister Boris Johnson had said in June that the pace of negotiations on the fundamental issues, including fisheries and monitoring of the agreements, would be accelerated.
He said he had a lot of contact with his British counterpart David Frost this month. The negotiation schedule will run until the beginning of October for the time being.
The British have been out of the EU since February 1. However, there is a transition period until December 31, during which London still follows EU rules and an attempt is made to conclude a trade agreement for the period after that.
The first six rounds did not get the parties much further than the conclusion that there are significant differences of opinion.
On the table are investments, trade in goods and services, the role of the European Court of Justice and the supervision of agreements and dispute settlement. Transport, social security and police and judicial cooperation are also discussed.