EU-UK talks on a post-Brexit trade deal have stalled again as major disparities persist between the two sides despite the intense efforts of their negotiators to reach an agreement.
EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and his British counterpart David Frost issued a joint statement on Friday evening after a week in London in which they wrote the same Twitter post.
“After a week of intense negotiations in London, we reached an agreement today with @DavidGHFrost that the terms of an agreement have not been met due to significant differences in terms of level playing field, governance and fisheries,” tweeted Barnier. He added that the two sides had also agreed to suspend the talks “to inform our clients of the status of the negotiations”.
The British Prime Minister and the President of the EU Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, are expected to have a phone call on Saturday after their Brexit negotiators described it as a day without an agreement.
Here is a statement from me and @MichelBarnier about the state of our negotiations. pic.twitter.com/P5Uhg7RQUz
– David Frost (@DavidGHFrost) December 4, 2020
The course of the bilateral talks was hinted at by the head of the commission, who told MEPs during the plenary session of Parliament that she was unsure whether an agreement could be reached, although significant “progress” was reported in the talks.
Should the two sides fail to reach an agreement before the end of the transition period on December 31, given the time looming, the EU and UK will have to act on the terms set by the World Trade Organization.