On Monday, with little progress made on sticky point, the European Union and Britain commenced trade negotiations even as the June deadline ominously hangs overhead, with both countries yet to agree on extension on negotiations.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has earlier repeatedly refused to prolong the current transition period beyond the end of this year, which will grant some time for both countries to map out the scale and scope of their future relationship.
On its part, the EU is looking forward to a comprehensive deal which includes security and fisheries, along with the so-called level playing field guarantees of fair competition. Britain on the other hand is keen on hammering out a narrower trade agreement with the bloc from 2021.
Negotiations which had earlier become complicated with both sides sticking to their positions, have become more knotted because of the coronavirus pandemic, sapping the energy and political attention on both sides of the English Channel.
This week’s round of negotiations will focus on fisheries, trade in goods and services, transport, aviation, energy and other matters; the next round is scheduled for the first week of June.
If Britain were to crash out of the European Union, it would mean a cliff hanger exit from it, without the cushion of supporting network of trade rules and cooperation.