The UK’s chief Brexit negotiator David Frost will speak with his Brussels counterpart Michel Barnier next week to outline a timetable for trade negotiations.
Frost and Barnier will speak on Wednesday with the aim of setting out dates to carry on negotiations remotely through April and May.
There has been much speculation that the UK’s deadline date to have an EU trade deal completed will be extended past 31 December in light of the coronavirus crisis.
However, Downing Street has consistently said there would be no change to the deadline as it is enshrined in law.
The UK is currently in a transition period where it operates still by EU rules, despite having left the bloc in January.
A Number 10 spokesman today said Monday’s discussions between Frost and EU’s deputy head of task force Clara Martinez Alberola were successful.
“They agreed there was scope for further productive discussions and contact should continue,” he said.
“David Frost and EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier will speak early next week to work out a timetable for negotiations by remote means in April and May.”
Barnier also took to social media this morning to confirm he would have talks with his British counterpart next week.
Barnier tweeted: “Today, my team and I spoke to prepare the weeks ahead.
“Our work at the EU Commission continues, even though we are living through difficult times.
“Next Wednesday, I will speak to David Frost to organise upcoming negotiation rounds.”
The government’s bullish Brexit position is at odds with many in the UK and Europe.
Labour’s new leader Sir Keir Starmer said it was a “mistake” to put the deadline in law.
The centre-right European People’s Party in the European Parliament last week called for Britain to request an extension.
It said coronavirus meant that common sense should “prevail over ideology”.
Brexit negotiations have been hampered by lockdowns, travel restrictions and fears over the spread of coronavirus.