Brexit: Michel Barnier gives update on state of negotiations
The Brussels diplomat said usually the European Union would spend more than five years working up trade treaties. Speaking ahead of a meeting with EU27 ambassadors, Mr Barnier told reporters: “We’ve only been negotiating for nine months, we’ve needed at least five years for all the previous agreements, we are going to give every chance to this agreement… which is still possible. “A good, balanced agreement. That means two conditions which aren’t met yet. Free and fair competition… and an agreement which guarantees reciprocal access to markets and waters. And it’s on these points that we haven’t found the right balance with the British. So we keep working.”
In a private Brussels meeting, he told EU envoys that there had been some “limited progress” in the trade talks over the weekend.
Mr Barnier said both sides had moved closer together on a plan to enforce a future deal and ensure there are ways to settle a trade dispute.
But the Frenchman conceded the EU and UK were still far apart on the main sticking points of fishing quotas and controls over state subsidies for industry.
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