The EU’s Chief Negotiator has said “the UK continues to backtrack on the commitments it has undertaken in the Political Declaration.”
The fourth round of EU-UK Future Relationship Negotiations has ended with little progress, especially in the area of fisheries. Once again the EU team was left frustrated by the UK’s position on fisheries which led Barnier to accuse the British PM, Boris Johnson of trying to renege on the Political Declaration.
In his broadcast today Barnier said “In all these areas – and many others – the UK continues to backtrack on the commitments it has undertaken in the Political Declaration.
“Including on fisheries, where we committed to use our “best endeavours” to conclude and ratify a new agreement by 1st July 2020.”
On the issue of reaching an agreement by 1 July 2020, Barnier was pessimistic. He said:
“It seems clear that we will not reach this target considering how the negotiations in this area are going for the moment.”
“Even in the rare areas where we saw some movement this week, such as the European Convention on Human Rights, we still fall short of what we had agreed in the Political Declaration.
“We cannot accept this backtracking on the Political Declaration.
“And we will request the full respect of the Withdrawal Agreement.”
The UK’s Chief Negotiator, David Frost, again, came away from the negotiations on a positive note. In his statement after the talks he said:
“Progress remains limited but our talks has been positive and tone. negotiations will continue and we remain committed to a successful outcome.
“We are now at an important moment for these talks. we are close to reaching the limits of what we can achieve through the format of a formal Rounds. If we are to make progress it is clear that we must intensify and accelerate our work. We are discussing with the commission how this can be best done.
“We need to conclude this negotiation and good time to enable people and businesses to have certainty about the trading terms that will follow the end of the transition period at the end of this year, and, if necessary, to allow ratification of any agreement reached.
“For our part we are willing to work hard to see whether at least the outline of a valid agreement, covering all as issues, can be reached soon. any such deal must of course accommodate the reality of the UK’s well-established position on the so-called “level playing field”, on fisheries, and, on other difficult issues.”