Talks between the United Kingdom and the European Union over a free trade agreement were stalled on Thursday. While the EU said that an agreement was unlikely within the stipulated time frame. The UK expressed hope of an agreement by September.
Talks between the two parties over a trade agreement and other ties have almost come to a standstill since the UK left the EU in January with both accusing each other of not being compromising enough prior to the end of the transition period at the end of the current year.
After the latest round of talks, there were more of such accusations.
No willingness to break the deadlock was being shown on its part by the UK, said the EU’s negotiator Michel Barnier. On the other hand, the proposals of the EU were defined s not meeting the UK government’s demand of thee Britain being treated as an independent country, said Britain’s David Frost.
Ironically, both the sides managed to decide on one thing – that there had been no movement on the most sticky issues such as those on fair competition guarantees, or the level playing field, or on fisheries.
“By its current refusal to commit to conditions of open and fair competition and to a balanced agreement on fisheries, the UK makes a trade agreement – at this point – unlikely,” Barnier told a news conference.
“The time for answers is quickly running out,” he said. “If we do not reach an agreement on our future partnership, there will be more friction.”
In an almost equally straightforward and blunt comment, Frost said that “considerable gaps” remained between the two sides. He however added: “Despite all the difficulties, on the basis of the work we have done in July, my assessment is that agreement can still be reached in September, and that we should continue to negotiate with this aim in mind.”
(Adapted from CNBC.com)