Friday 21 August 2020 11:33 am

Brexit negotiations: Deal ‘will not be easy to achieve’

The UK’s chief Brexit negotiator David Frost said an exit deal with the European Union “will not be easy to achieve,” following the latest round of talks.

Read more: Brexit: City faces wait beyond 2020 for EU financial market access

“We have just concluded the seventh round of negotiations with the EU. As I said last week, agreement is still possible, and it is still our goal, but it is clear that it will not be easy to achieve. Substantive work continues to be necessary across a range of different areas of potential UK-EU future cooperation if we are to deliver it,” Frost said.

“We have had useful discussions this week but there has been little progress.”

State aid, subsidy policy and fisheries policy continue to be key sticking points in the talks between the two sides.

A senior UK official said: “They want to see us continuing arrangements that are very like those which we are bound by as members of the EU, we think the principle of Brexit means Brexit is a good one and it should be applied across the board.”

And added: “When the EU realise that needs to change it will be much easier to make progress.”

Read more: Time for City pragmatism to override political posturing in Brexit trade talks

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said today that talks with Britain this week often appeared to going backwards rather than forwards and, at this point, it looked unlikely that a deal could be clinched before a year-end deadline.

“At this stage, an agreement between the UK and the European Union seems unlikely,” Barnier told a news conference after two full days of negotiations in Brussels.

“On the European side, we are very concerned about the state of play in our negotiations. The clock is ticking.”

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