EU’s chief Brexit negotiator calls on the UK to show ‘more realism’ in trade talks
Speaking to The Times newspaper, Barnier stressed that the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson should “remember” the promises made in the Political Declaration, as “the UK has taken three steps back from the commitments it originally made.”
The Political Declaration was part of the Brexit deal and outlined the parameters of the two sides’ post-Brexit relationship. However, as the document is not legally binding, Barnier called for “translating political commitments into a legal text.”
He added that there will be no agreement unless the UK complies with the commitments “to the letter”.
“We remember very clearly the text which we negotiated with Boris Johnson. And we just want to see that complied with. To the letter. And if that doesn’t happen, there will be no agreement,” Barnier told The Times.
The EU negotiator has frequently warned over “limited time” for the two sides to agree on a trade deal, as the Coronavirus pandemic has delayed bilateral talks, and the transition period is scheduled to come to an end on December 31.
Although the two negotiators are holding rounds of talks, no progress has been made in key areas. The deadline for the UK to request an extension of up to two years is until July 1, however, Johnson has ruled out this scenario.
Earlier in May, UK’s negotiator, David Frost said in a letter sent to his European counterpart that the EU proposal “contains novel and unbalanced proposals which would bind this country to EU law or standards”.
Barnier replied that the exchange of letters “cannot be a substitute for serious engagement and detailed negotiations,” criticising the “tone” the UK has taken “to impact the mutual trust and constructive attitude” that is essential between the two sides.