EU negotiator michel barnier urges uk to move toward post-brexit trade deal.
"We need tangible progress on all fronts, including open and fair conditions of competition," barnier wrote at the start of the third round of negotiations with british representatives. The federation of german industries (BDI) complained that progress to date has been totally inadequate.
Great britain left the EU at the end of january, but will still be part of the european single market and the customs union until the end of the year. In this transitional phase, the future economic relations are to be regulated in an agreement. Otherwise, customs duties, strict controls on goods and other obstacles for the economy are imminent.
But two rounds of negotiations since the beginning of march have brought little progress. The third round began on monday – by friday, negotiators are expected to discuss dozens of detailed issues in video conferences. But the positions are far apart. The crux of the matter for the EU is that great britain must accept the same social and environmental standards in order to avoid distortions of competition. Brussel also calls for swift agreement on fishing rights.
The federation of german industries criticized that the british government’s tactics did not do justice to the seriousness of the situation. London must take account of the concerns of the economy. "An expiry of the brexit transition at the end of the year without an agreement would turn an already difficult economic situation into a catastrophic one."
The transition period could be extended by one or two years if both sides agree by the end of june. But the british head of government, boris johnson, is strongly opposed to the idea. SPD member for europe katarina barley does not believe that the deadline will be extended, but does not rule out a change of course. "That he is capable of turns, boris johnson has already proven several times," barley said on RBB-inforadio.
Barley was pessimistic: "the distrust is now gross."The british were not allowed to gain any unilateral advantages. "You can’t have access to the internal market and at the same time undercut european standards on issues of occupational health and safety, consumer protection, environmental protection and thus gain an advantage. This will not work in any case."
FDP politician nicola beer told SWR radio that she "no longer has any hope" that an agreement will be possible by the end of the year because of britain’s attitude. Beer is also in favor of extending the transition period. This was also demanded by the green member of the european parliament anna cavazzini. It also complained that great britain refuses to make compliance with the paris climate agreement a central point of the trade agreement.