EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said on Friday that he was disappointed after the third round of talks between Europeans and London on the post-divorce relationship. Apart from "a few modest overtures, no progress has been possible on the other, more difficult subjects, " said the Frenchman at a press conference in Brussels, deeming this round " disappointing ".
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His British counterpart David Frost criticized him for the " little progress " made and called for " a change in approach to the EU " before the next round of talks on June 1.
" Nothing very new under the sun, " sums up a source close to the discussions at the end of this week. With the exception, perhaps, of the tone of the exchanges, this time more " firm, sometimes a little manly ". " The tone has risen a little more this session, " abounds a European source, who evokes a " frustrating " week . We do things on the spot and time flies, for lack of a “ common vision on what we are trying to do ”, she explains.
The previous exchanges, at the end of April, had already ended on an acknowledgment of failure, leaving a strong uncertainty about the ability of London and Brussels to get along, as expected, by the end of the year.
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The British, who formally left the EU on January 31, entered a transition period until the end of the year, during which they continue to apply EU standards. Negotiators must theoretically decide in June whether or not to extend this period, in order to allow themselves more time to negotiate.
But London categorically rejects this idea, even if the coronavirus epidemic has changed the timing of the discussions, as well as their form: exclusively by videoconference.