Sunday, June 16, 2024
 
 

EU-UK exchange draft legal texts on future relationship

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Michel Barnier, EU’s chief Brexit negotiator and his counterpart, British Prime Minister’s Europe adviser David Frost, exchanged on Wednesday evening draft legal texts on their proposals for the post-Brexit relationship between the two sides, once the transition period scheduled for December 31, comes to an end.
Britain officially left the bloc on January 31, and UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he has no intentions of moving the deadline, which is enshrined into UK’s law, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This evening the UK and EU have exchanged draft legal texts. We are sharing ours in confidence as a negotiating document, as part of the ongoing negotiating process,” the British government spokesman said.
The draft texts include a proposed free trade agreement and key annexes, proposed agreements on aviation safety, air transport and civil nuclear industries.
According to the text published, “the Parties shall cooperate on current and emerging global issues of common interest, such as peace and security, climate change, sustainable development, cross-border pollution, environmental protection, digitalisation, public health and consumer protection, taxation, financial stability and free and fair trade and investment.”
“This text demonstrates that an ambitious and comprehensive agreement on our future relationship is possible, on the basis of the EU’s mandate and the political ambition agreed with the UK five months ago,” said Michel Barnier, EU’s chief Brexit negotiator.
The COVID-19 outbreak across the bloc has disrupted bilateral efforts to reach a trade deal as talks between the two sites are on hold, raising doubts about whether it’s possible to come to a conclusion within the agreed deadline.
Barnier announced on Thursday he has tested positive for COVID-19, a day after the two officials exchanged the draft texts. After exhibiting “mild symptoms” on Friday, his counterpart, Frost is now self-isolating and has yet to test for the virus.
Johnson has mounted pressure to advance trade talks until June’s summit, even threatening to “withdraw from talks”, if no “significant progress” is made. In a statement issued, UK’s No 10 announced that the government is now thinking of “flexible ways” to continue discussions, as the COVID-19 emergency does not allow vis-a-vis meetings.
 

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