By Alex Trelinski • 15 April 2020 • 18:00
BRITAIN and the European Union are to continue talks and negotiations about their future relationship, despite the massive world priority of dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Boris Johnson has previously said that the UK would walk away from the table if a trade deal could not be struck, and that if need be, the country would operate under World Trade Organisation rules from the start of 2021.
A variety of UK politicians have suggested that the business of sorting out a post-Brexit trade relationship be allowed to continue into next year, but the government appears to be determined not to let their self-enforced timetable slip.
A joint statement following “constructive” discussions between the UK’s chief negotiator David Frost and his EU counterpart Michel Barnier today (April 15) confirmed that three more rounds of talks are now on the cards in the coming weeks.
The statement came just hours after Downing Street again rejected suggestions Britain could seek an extension to its current implementation period with the EU, which sees the UK stay closely aligned to Brussels until the end of this year.
Mr Frost and Mr Barnier – who have both endured stints in self-isolation amid the coronavirus outbreak – held talks via videolink.
A statement by both the UK and EU said of the discussions: “The two sides took stock of the technical work that has taken place since the first negotiating round on the basis of the legal texts exchanged by both sides.”
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