The EU Accused The UK Of Delaying Negotiations On The Completion Of Brexit
The EU has accused the UK of slowing down work on preparing an agreement on future relations with the EU after the Brexit transition period. This was stated by the EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, on Friday at a briefing on the results of the second round of negotiations on post-Brexit relations after the UK's exit, which was held remotely. He warned that with this attitude of London, an agreement on future relations and trade between the EU and the UK will not be possible to conclude by the end of the transition period - December 31, 2020.
Barnier has fully recovered from the coronavirus infection he suffered in March and has regained a firm voice and excellent diction. The only warm words addressed to his British negotiating partners were a wish for a speedy recovery to Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
The UK is slowing down the negotiation process
"The UK is slowing down the negotiation process. This week, the UK refused to engage in a constructive dialogue on the four key points of the negotiations, which are enshrined in the political Declaration [of Brussels and London], - he said. "The EU refuses any long-term partnership that does not include solutions to these issues."
He stressed that Britain refuses to make any compromises on creating a balanced business environment, on the free movement of people, goods and services, on the development of a veterinary and phytosanitary control regime on the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, as well as on fishing issues.
Against this background, Barnier said with pronounced displeasure that the UK also refused any new delays to complete the Brexit process. "The UK government has refused to delay any final exit from the European market, which is scheduled for December 31, 2020. This is the date of economic Brexit, the end of the transition period after political Brexit (February 1, 2020)," said Barnier. He stressed that existing agreements provide for a deadline for requesting a new Brexit delay by June 30.
"The UK cannot simultaneously refuse to extend negotiations and move forward on key issues. An agreement cannot be concluded if this relationship continues.
Brexit during the pandemic
"We need to reach an agreement to mitigate the severe shock that our economies will experience this year as a result of the pandemic. It is unacceptable to amplify it with the shock of breaking economic ties without an agreement, " Barnier said. In this regard, he called for more work on the text of the agreement on future relations.
"At the beginning of June, we must make a thorough re-evaluation of the situation in the negotiations. This leaves us with two rounds - in may and at the beginning of June, and we must use them with maximum seriousness," Barnier said.
Barnier also confirmed that regardless of the outcome of the talks, the UK will not participate in the EU's long-term plan for economic recovery after the coronavirus pandemic.
"The UK will not participate in the EU's plan to support the economy [which will be launched] from 2021. Until then, it is obliged to pay its contributions to the EU budget in full," Barnier said.
According to the agreement between Brussels and London, until the end of 2020, there is a transition period for Brexit, during which the UK actually remains a member of the EU, enjoys all the rights of a member of the European market, and pays its contributions to the community budget. At the same time, since the political exit from the EU - February 1, 2020 - the country is no longer represented in the decision-making bodies of the European Union. If the UK asks for a delay in completing the transition period after December 31, 2020, it will force it to pay extra money to the EU budget.
The creation of a long-term (at least for a period of seven years) economic recovery Fund of up to €2 trillion is currently being discussed by EU leaders. It is expected that in order to Finance it, EU countries, in particular, will have to increase their payments to the EU budget from 2021.