Brexit negotiations appear to reach stalemate

Brexit | | MIC Customs Solutions |

There was no progress on Brexit in London this month.

The most recent round of Brexit negotiations appear to have ended at a stalemate, with both sides unwilling to back down on their respective sticking points and leaders warning that a deal may not happen at all.

European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier met with his UK counterpart David Frost in London for the seventh set of discussions, which were reportedly cordial yet unproductive.

Mr Barnier told the waiting press he was "disappointed and concerned" at the outcome of the meeting.

"Too often this week it felt as if we were going backwards more than forwards. Given the short time left, what I said in London in July remains true: today, at this stage, an agreement between the UK and EU seems unlikely," he added.

The UK is currently in a transition period following its formal EU exit, which will last until December 31st 2020. The EU has previously said it would like to see a deal inked by October to remain in good time ahead of this deadline, failing which default World Trade Organization rules would apply between the two parties as of 2021.

However, Mr Frost reiterated the comments made by Mr Barnier when he spoke of "little progress" towards this in the most recent negotiations.

He claimed the EU is making it "unnecessarily difficult" to move forward without having agreed upon the problematic areas of fisheries and state aid.

Meanwhile, the EU has reiterated its stance on a 'level playing field', which refers to a common set of rules and standards to prevent one country having a competitive advantage or being able to undercut the others.

In an attempt to break the war of attrition, the UK has outlined a draft legal text for a potential free trade agreement that it presented to the EU at the meeting. However, despite Mr Barnier apparently admiring the sentiment, this appeared to be largely dismissed.

A senior Brexit official told BBC News a deal was "still possible, but not that easy to get there".

Ending the talks on a more optimistic note, Mr Gove said: "We are working flat out to make sure the United Kingdom is ready for the changes and huge opportunities at the end of the year as we regain our political and economic independence for the first time in almost 50 years."

Meanwhile, a document leaked to Britain's Sun newspaper has revealed emergency plans the UK government intends to put in place should a no-deal Brexit coincide with another wave of coronavirus.

It reveals the Cabinet Office may deploy the Navy to prevent British and European fishing boats clashing, as well as outlining measures to help potential lorry jams at Dover and port blockages leading to medicine shortages.

A government spokesperson insisted this is simply responsible planning for a worst-case scenario and "not a forecast or prediction".

The next round of Brexit talks will begin on September 7th 2020.