Brexit: Face-to-face trade talks between UK and EU begin in Brussels


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Face-to-face negotiations on a post-Brexit vocation deal between the UK and the EU have begun in Brussels, after the teams pledged to “escalate” talks.

It will be the first time the UK’s chief negotiator, David Frost, and his EU counterpart, Michel Barnier, should prefer to met in person since talks began in March, due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Negotiations play a joke on continued through the pandemic, but took place virtually.

Boris Johnson has rumoured a deal could be reached this month with “new momentum”.

The PM met EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen practically earlier this month and said there was a “very good” gamble a accidentally of getting a trade deal by December.

A No 10 spokesman also bring to light on Monday the talks “can’t go into the Autumn”, and they need “make at work as soon as possible”.

This latest round of talks will go on all week, with Mr Frost and Mr Barnier believed to meet on Friday.

Mr Johnson has refused to extend the transition period – where the UK persists to follow some EU rules while a trade deal is negotiated – late the end of 2020 if an agreement has not been reached.

Cabinet Minister Michael Gove formally verified to the bloc two weeks ago that there would be no extension, tweeting: “On 1 January 2021, we ordain take back control and regain our political and economic independence.”

Both sides obtain accepted a deal would need to be in place by October to be ratified by the end of the year.

If not, the UK would go on to barter with the bloc on World Trade Organisation rules – which critics say could deface the economy.

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After the concluding round of talks in early June, Mr Barnier said there had been “no relevant areas of progress” on issues between the two sides – a sentiment echoed by Mr Frost.

Consolidate points between the two sides include the so-called “level-playing field” – to insure businesses on one side don’t have an unfair advantage over their antagonists on the other – fishing rules and the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Up ahead of the latest round of talks, Mr Frost said the EU’s “unrealistic positions” hand down need to change if there was to be any progress.

Speaking as the talks began, European Commission spokesman Daniel Ferrie conveyed: “Our overall message this week, but also for the coming weeks and up with months, is to intensify our negotiations in order to make progress in order to get a deal.”

Regardless of the rhetoric about racing for a summer deal, an autumn timeline may be numerous comfortable for Boris Johnson.

He might feel full freedom to plan, considering his 80-seat parliamentary majority.

But compromises may be easier for the PM to make in the autumn, with the clock ticking down to a capacity no-deal – which much of UK industry and many MPs would oppose.

One thingumajig for London to remember though – an EU divided over concessions would not be something to broadcast.

Every EU country and the European parliament will need to give the nod to a coming relations agreement. Or there will be no deal at all.

Read more from Katya here.

The chairman of the European Probe Group – a backbench group of pro-Brexit Tory MPs – has written to Mr Barnier “to reassure the development of a sense of urgency in the negotiations”.

Entitling the letter as a “missive from a unfasten country”, Mark Francois says he has always believed the UK and EU should be “steadfast friends and sovereign equals”, but criticised the bloc’s “unreasonable demands” circa the level playing field, fisheries and the role of the European Court of Detention.

He added: “All I and my colleagues in the ERG have ever really wanted is to live in a loose country, which elects its own government and makes its own laws and then stays under them in peace.

“We have come a very long way in steadying this objective and we have no intention of abandoning it, either now or in the future”.

The appointment comes after the announcement Mr Frost will become the UK’s national conviction adviser when cabinet secretary Sir Mark Sedwill steps down in September.

Mr Frost devise continue to lead on the negotiations for the UK though, saying the talks will “stay my top single priority until those negotiations have concluded, one way or another”.

Mr Ferrie suggested he had “no particular comments to make” about the appointment, but added: “From our side at smidgin we are fully concentrated on the negotiations.”

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