Another week gone, Brexit trade talks remain stuck

Business

European Commission’s Head of Task Force for Relations with the United Kingdom Michel Barnier leaves the Conference Centre in London, Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. With less than two months to go before the U.K. exits the EU’s economic orbit, trade deal talks resume in London. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union said Friday that another week of talks with Britain on a new trade deal has gone with barely any progress. Its chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, is heading to London for ever-more pressing weekend negotiations to avoid chaos when Britain’s trade agreements with the EU end at New Year.

Barnier emerged from a COVID-19 quarantine on Friday and said that after a week of remote video talks the “same significant divergences persist.”

The lack of progress is frustrating since the EU had sounded optimistic about a deal last Friday and had committed to be “creative” in its approach during the final stages of the talks. Barnier was on Friday briefing EU member states and the EU parliament, which all have to give their consent to any deal reached with the U.K.

The three most divisive issues remain EU fishing rights in U.K. waters, compliance guarantees on any deal reached and the standards the U.K. must meet to export into the EU.

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