EU, Britain intensify talks on post-Brexit future
Brussels: The EU and Britain launched Monday an intense five weeks of negotiations on a deal to define their post-Brexit relations, with London keen to wrap things up quickly.
The new round of talks in Brussels was the first held face-to-face since the coronavirus shutdown combined with the two sides’ entrenched positions to stall progress.
Hopes are that the intensification of the discussions will make it possible to deliver results after previous sessions, of mainly videolink talks, achieved little.
But tempers have flared in recent days and Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisted on Saturday that Britain was quite ready to accept the consequences of no deal if common ground cannot be found.
The meetings will alternate weekly between Brussels and London throughout July and at the end of August, with London hoping for a deal as soon as possible. The teams learned on Sunday that the British negotiator David Frost will be promoted to become Johnson’s national security adviser.
Some commentators immediately suggested this could break the British side’s focus, but a UK spokesman insisted Frost’s new title does not mean he will be distracted from the ongoing discussions with his EU counterpart, Michel Barnier.
“David will remain chief negotiator for the EU talks until agreement is reached or until the talks end,” the official said. - AFP