Home U.K. Barnier erupts in astonishing attack on UK as Brexit talks crumble 'Can't...

Barnier erupts in astonishing attack on UK as Brexit talks crumble 'Can't go on like this'

The Frenchman accused the British of refusing to compromise on fisheries, the so-called regulatory level-playing field and governance. He said: “To tell the truth, this week there have been no significant areas of progress. “On fisheries, the UK have not shown any true will to explore other approaches, beyond Zonal Attachment.”



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Mr Barnier cast doubt whether a deal will be possible before the end of the year, adding: “I don’t think we can go on like this forever.”

 He accused the UK of rowing back on commitments that Boris Johnson signed up to as part of the Political Declaration on the future relationship.

“Round after round, our British counterparts seek to distance themselves from this common basis,” he fumed.

Michel Barnier says no progress has been made in Brexit talks with UK (Image: GETTY)

Mr Barnier added: “We cannot and we will not accept this backtracking on the Political Declaration.”

Despite the gloomy position, the EU’s chief negotiator, however, revealed that the bloc could be ready to offer a compromise in order to help move talks forward.

He suggested Brussels could soon drop its demand for Britain to apply the EU’s state aid rules.

David Frost, the Prime Minister’s chief negotiator, has previously branded the ask as “egregious”

Mr Barnier said: “I have taken into account that British concern, which I can understand in political terms.”

He added: “I think we can achieve these robust commitments that the Prime Minister referred to, to avoid any unfair competition in the field of state aid, which is a key importance when it comes to free and fair trade.”

Mr Barnier also signalled room for a compromise on fisheries, insisting Brussels respects Britain’s desire to become an independent coastal state.

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He maintained that the entire trade deal hinges on securing access to Britain’s fishing grounds, but softened his overall approach.

The Frenchman said: “We recognise that now the UK is a third country it has sovereignty over its own waters.

“It is no longer bound vey the Common Fisheries Policy, and there will be.”

 The UK and EU are expected to return for further negotiating rounds after a high-level meeting between Boris Johnson, and EU presidents Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel.

Mr Barnier hinted they could start redoubling their efforts as early as the end of June.

After the talks, UK negotiator Mr Frost said: “We have just completed our fourth full negotiating round with the EU, again by video conference. It was a little shorter than usual and more restricted in scope. We continue to discuss the full range of issues, including the most difficult ones. 

“Progress remains limited but our talks have been positive in 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 remote 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 best be done.

“We need to conclude this negotiation in 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 agreements reached. 

“For our part we are willing to work hard to see whether at least the outline of a balanced agreement, covering all 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 the other difficult issues.”


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