By Guillermo Ximenis
London, Jul 5 (efe-epa).- Negotiators from the United Kingdom and European Union will start a new round of discussions this week in London on their post-Brexit relationship.
The two sides are separated by deep differences after they left the negotiating table ahead of schedule during a previous meeting in Brussels.
Expectations for the first in-person meetings after six weeks of coronavirus paralysis and three unsuccessful video conferences were dashed this week as positions remain unchanged on both sides of the English Channel with apparently irreconcilable differences.
EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier and his British counterpart David Frost canceled a meeting scheduled to take place on Friday which was a step backward that has cooled prospects for reaching an agreement this summer.
Two new rounds of “technical” contact between London and Brussels is due to take place before 20 July, which will be formally considered the fifth round of negotiations.
One of the main issues is the EU’s demand that the UK remains aligned with regulations in the bloc in various fields in exchange for economic access to the single market.
Brussels wants to prevent British companies from operating at an advantage over their European counterparts if London decides to diverge from EU laws in the future.
The EU is keen to maintain a level playing field for regulations on areas such as state aid for businesses, labor rights and environmental standards.
British negotiators have argued that restricting the country’s ability to legislate after it has left the bloc would undermine its national sovereignty.