European Commission (EC) President Ursula von der Leyen and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson acknowledged significant differences in the Brexit negotiation process. “They endorsed the assessment of both major negotiators (EU and UK) that progress has been made in recent weeks, but significant differences remain, in particular, but not limited to fisheries, a level playing field (in partnership) and management (the Brexit agreement), “von der Leyen and Johnson said in a joint statement following their video-link talks on Saturday.
The document also notes that the parties “agreed on the importance of reaching an agreement, if at all possible, as a solid foundation for a strategic relationship between the EU and the UK in the future.” “They have instructed their top negotiators to work hard to try to bridge these differences,” the statement said. The head of the EC and the British prime minister agreed to regularly discuss this issue.
On the eve of the EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier issued a communiqué following the ninth round of negotiations of the parties held in Brussels. Noting some convergence of positions and a certain “positive evolution”, he at the same time stressed “the existence of serious disagreements on issues of great importance for the European Union.” Barnier listed the points of greatest concern on the part of the European Union.
The new economic partnership, he said, should be based on clear rules of the game. These rules must be enforceable and credible. This is especially true for issues of state aid, obligations to maintain good quality of social, tax, environmental and climate standards.
A future relationship based on a common agreement requires effective governance, backed by strong enforcement mechanisms, dispute resolution and effective remedies.
“This demand, of course, is even more urgent due to the project of the British government to call into question the agreement on withdrawal (from the EU) and the protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland by adopting the law on the internal market,” said the EU coordinator for negotiations with the UK. Of particular importance, he believes, is the existence of “a stable, fair and sustainable fisheries agreement that allows the United Kingdom to develop its fisheries economy while ensuring the sustainability of resources and protecting the activities of European fishermen.”
Earlier it was reported that on October 1, the European Commission announced the sending of a letter to the UK with an official notification of the violation of obligations under the Brexit agreement. “This is the first step in the infringement procedure. This letter invites the United Kingdom to communicate its observations to us within one month,” said EC President Ursula von der Leyen last Thursday.