The EU and the UK with Big Differences at the Start of Negotiations on Future Relations
The European Union and the United Kingdom take note of the profound differences in their negotiating positions on the future relations agreement. This was announced today by EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier after the first round of talks that began in Brussels earlier this week.
He noted that this did not surprise him because the negotiations were just beginning. So far, the two sides differ in their views on the same requirements for the activity of companies; on legal and police cooperation; the scope of the future agreement; on fishing rules.
Barnier reported that a total of 620 people in the two delegations were negotiating. He added that the British side insisted on foreign policy and defense issues not to be part of the new agreement. In his words, London's representatives propose that instead of a single agreement, future relations should be governed by a number of separate arrangements.
The chief European negotiator added that the consequences of Britain's withdrawal from the EU appear to be underestimated so far.
The next round of bilateral talks will be in London, he said. Barnier said that regardless of whether a new agreement with the UK would be reached by the end of the year, the EU would remain a neighbour, friend and ally for the EU.
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