Business & Economy

EU Brexit chief: It feels like we’re going backwards

Brussels, Aug 21 (efe-epa).- Discussions on the post-Brexit relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union are log jammed with the issue of fair competition proving to be a stubborn obstacle to progress.

Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, brought reporters up-to-date on Friday after the latest round of talks.

“Too often this week, it felt as if we were going backwards more than forward,” he said.

“Today, at this stage, an agreement between the UK and the EU seems unlikely. I simply do not understand why we are wasting valuable time. The clock is ticking.”

The French politician said he was “disappointed” and concerned at the state of progress in negotiations.

He said he was simply asking the UK’s prime minister Boris Johnson to stay committed to the principles of the withdrawal deal he has already agreed to.

The UK’s chief negotiator David Frost in a statement said: “We have had useful discussions this week but there has been little progress.

“The EU is still insisting not only that we must accept continuity with EU state aid and fisheries policy, but also that this must be agreed before any further substantive work can be done in any other area of the negotiation, including on legal texts.

“This makes it unnecessarily difficult to make progress.”

The UK’s conservative government finds issue with the EU’s insistence on a level business playing field in a post-Brexit trade deal. Brussels wants to ensure that the UK’s regulation in areas like state aid, social, work and fiscal standards does not deviate massively from the EU in a way that would allow the country to undermine European businesses.

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