14:26 GMT23 September 2020
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    Life After Brexit: What's Next After UK Leaves EU (43)
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    There has been little progress achieved by several rounds of talks on future trade and overall relations between the UK and the EU during the post-Brexit transition period, with differences remaining on fundamental issues such as a level playing field and fishing rights.

    The UK is reportedly adamant on rejecting any restraining deal that would entail alignment to EU rules ahead of a fresh round of Brexit talks resuming in Brussels on Tuesday, writes the Daily Mail.

    A source close to British negotiators was suggested as saying an agreement that "constrains" the UK to Brussels' rules and infringes upon sovereignty would not be accepted.

    The UK was believed to be resolved to hammer out a free trade deal with the EU similar to the one in place between the bloc and Canada.

    The source said:

    "We remain committed to working hard to find the outlines of a balanced agreement. We have been repeatedly clear that we are looking for a deal with, at its core, a free trade agreement similar to the one the EU already has with Canada – that is, an agreement based on existing precedents", a source was quoted as saying.

    The source close to the UK negotiating side added:

    "But what we cannot have is a form of relationship which requires alignment or one that constrains us to the EU's rules. Our priority throughout the process has always been the return of our sovereignty.

    Brexiteer Tory MP and former minister Theresa Villiers echoed Downing Street's stance:

    "Boris’s negotiators have said alignment is off the table. That’s the right approach and they should stick to that so we get Brexit done".

    As the sides embark on another round of talks on future trade and relations between the UK and the EU, former Brexit Secretary David Davis was cited as saying a larger group ought to be heading to Brussels than the current 50 civil servants entrusted with the daunting task.

    "It ought to be a couple of hundred, in truth. Because there are so many things going on in parallel… We are also negotiating with Japan, and the New Zealanders and Australians... and the Americans and the New Zealanders are complaining we’re not moving fast enough. And that is partly because of the capability in Whitehall, and I dare I say it, the enthusiasm in Whitehall", the Tory MP for Haltemprice and Howden said.

    Gridlocked Talks

    Several rounds of talks between the UK and the EU have taken place since the British departure from the bloc in January.

    However, any significant breakthroughs have eluded the sides as yet, with large differences remaining.
    Brussels wants an overall, wide-ranging agreement in one comprehensive treaty, whereas the UK has been advocating a simpler free trade deal, with separate agreements on other matters.

    A "Canada-style" free trade agreement, earlier touted as an option by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, would remove tariffs and quotas on most UK-EU trade at the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December.

    Brexit supporters hold British and US flags in front of the Statue of Winston Churchill during a rally in London, Friday, Jan. 31, 2020
    © AP Photo / Alberto Pezzali
    Brexit supporters hold British and US flags in front of the Statue of Winston Churchill during a rally in London, Friday, Jan. 31, 2020

    The main areas of disagreement are the EU's demand for level playing field rules, which would ensure close alignment on issues such as state-aid, environmental and employment regulations, the dispute over fishing quotas in UK waters, and a possible role for the European Court of Justice in overseeing a deal.

    London has consistently ruled out any jurisdiction for the ECJ over the UK's laws.

    Boris Johnson's official spokesman said on 22 July that the UK would "continue to engage constructively" with the EU, adding that time was running out.

    "We've said we don't want the talks to drag on into the autumn, that we want to make progress as quickly as possible in order to give certainty and clarity to business and there's no change to that", he told reporters.

    After a three-and-a-half-year process that began with the 2016 referendum, the United Kingdom officially left the European Union on 31 January, entering a transition period set to run to the end of this year.

    Throughout this period the two sides are to meet up for rounds of negotiations to reach deals in a host of fields, to avoid a no-deal Brexit.

    Life After Brexit: What's Next After UK Leaves EU (43)


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