Latest Brexit trade talks end without 'significant' progress
Iran Press TV
Saturday, 06 June 2020 6:06 PM
The latest round of post-Brexit trade talks between the UK and the European Union (EU) has hit a deadlock with no prospect of an immediate breakthrough.
Addressing a media conference yesterday, the EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, lamented the absence of "significant areas of progress" before proclaiming "we cannot go on like this forever".
Meanwhile, the UK's chief negotiator, David Frost, struck a more upbeat tone by stating: "Negotiations will continue and we remain committed to a successful outcome".
"We are close to reaching the limits of what we can achieve through the format of remote formal", Frost added, in reference to coronavirus-related restrictions on face to face negotiations.
Indeed the latest round of discussions was conducted via video link over four consecutive days.
While the UK formally exited the EU on January 31, the country still remains inside the EU's tariff-free economic zone until the end of this year.
The two sides have to reach a comprehensive trade agreement by December 31 otherwise the UK will crash out of all EU systems without a deal.
The transition period can be extended by an additional two years but a formal request to that effect has to be made by July 01.
Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has repeatedly ruled out asking for an extension as part of his broader strategy of pressuring EU negotiators to accede to British demands.
Most analysts believe that the last chance for a breakthrough in talks rest on a meeting between Johnson and the EU's top official, European Commission President, Ursula Von der Leyen, which could take place later this month.
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