Tag Archives: David Frost

EU-UK negociations to continue in August

Negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union delegations will continue into October, the British government said, ending only days before a key meeting of EU leaders the bloc says is the deadline for the two sides to reach a comprehensive trade agreement.

The delegations will meet on the weeks of August 17, September 7 and September 28, the British government said in a statement, released on July 31.

The EU leaders are suggesting to reach a deal before the meeting to allow time for any trade accord to be implemented before the post-Brexit transition period expires by the end of the year on December 31.

A fifth round of talks between ended last week with both representatives were indicating they are still far from reaching an agreement. Without one, businesses face the imposition of tariffs and quotas following the WTO frame from January next year.

Barnier: EU willing ambitious UK partnership

“I am happy to meet you here in Europe House in London, at the end of this sixth negotiation round” the EU top negotiator of the EU-UK post-Brexit agreement said, while concluding latest round of talks in London.

“I would like to thank the EU Delegation, and our Ambassador João Vale de Almeida for welcoming us.

“Thank you also for the very useful work you do, representing the EU in the UK, together with the 27 EU Ambassadors, whom I met yesterday.

“This negotiation takes place in the middle of a very serious health, economic and social crisis across Europe and the world.

“This crisis gives us a duty to act responsibly and to work for an agreement limiting the negative consequences of Brexit. This is also why the agreement found this week in the European Council is so important. EU leaders, including Presidents Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel, showed responsibility and EU unity in agreeing on a budget for the next 7 years and on a very ambitious recovery plan. The European Parliament is debating this today.

…Let me begin with a few words on the context of this round. At the High-Level Meeting with Presidents Ursula von der Leyen, David Sassoli and Charles Michel in June, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told us that he wanted to reach a political agreement quickly. The Prime Minister also stated three red lines:

– no role for the European Court of Justice in the UK; – the right to determine future UK laws without constraints and an agreement on fisheries that shows that Brexit makes a real difference compared to the existing situation.
What Boris Johnson says and writes matters to the EU. Therefore, following the High-Level Meeting, we agreed to intensify our discussions. We have tried to understand how these three red lines can be squared with our commitment to a comprehensive new partnership – as set out in the Political Declaration, signed by Prime Minister Johnson on 17 October last year. Because of course, any international agreement implies constraints on both Parties.

We have continued to engage sincerely and constructively, in line with the mandate given to us by the Member States, with the support of the European Parliament.

However, over the past few weeks, the UK has not shown the same level of engagement and readiness to find solutions respecting the EU’s fundamental principles and interests.

This week, we have had useful discussions on some issues in goods and services.

But these negotiations are complex and require us to make progress across all areas. And we are still far away.

This week, discussions took place in a positive atmosphere, and I want to thank David Frost and his team, as well as the EU team, for their professional approach.

It has allowed us to make some progress:

We had useful discussions to narrow our divergences in the areas of social security coordination and Union programmes.
We made progress towards the objective of a comprehensive and single institutional framework, which must include robust enforcement mechanisms.
And we had good discussions on police and judicial cooperation, even if divergences remain.
On two important subjects, transport and energy, we had intense and useful discussions. However, the UK continued to request single market-like benefits.In addition, there is still no progress on two essential topics of our economic partnership.

First, there must be robust guarantees for a level playing field – including on State aid and standards – to ensure open and fair competition among our businesses, also over time. This is a core interest for all 27 Member States – and in my view also for the UK.
Second, we have to agree on a balanced, sustainable and long-term solution for fisheries, with the interests of all Member States concerned in mind, and not least the many men and women whose livelihoods depend on it on both sides.
These two points should not come as a surprise.

We have been saying the same thing since the beginning of the negotiations – not only this year, but consistently over the last three years. These points are mentioned explicitly in the Political Declaration – a rather precise text. They were part and parcel of our political engagement with Prime Minister Boris Johnson eight months ago.We are simply asking to translate this political engagement into a legal text. Nothing more.

Once again, what the Prime Minister writes and says matters to us. On the two points I mentioned – the level playing field and fisheries – this week again, the UK did not show a willingness to break the deadlock.

1/ On the level playing field, the UK still refuses to commit to maintaining high standards in a meaningful way.

On State aid, despite the clear wording of the Political Declaration, we have made no progress at all.

This is all the more worrying because we have no visibility on the UK’s intention on its future domestic subsidy control regime. We respect the UK political debate but the time for answers is quickly running out.

On important areas such as climate, environment, labour or social law, the UK refuses effective means to avoid undercutting by lowering standards.

The UK wants to regain its regulatory autonomy. We respect that.

But can the UK use this new regulatory autonomy to distort competition with us? We have to answer this question as we commit to a new economic partnership. We want to trade with the UK free from tariffs, free from quotas, but also free from unfair competition. And I am sure UK businesses want that too. The UK tells us it needs certainty for its businesses. But that cannot be at the price of long term uncertainty and disadvantage for our businesses in the EU.

We respect the UK government’s political choice and we are ready to work on solutions. But the EU cannot and will not accept to foot the bill for the UK’s political choices. And let me be very clear: A less ambitious agreement on goods and services will not lead the EU to drop its demands for a robust level playing field.

2/ On fisheries, the UK is effectively asking for a near total exclusion of EU fishing vessels from UK waters.

That is simply unacceptable.

The UK will be an independent coastal state, and the EU fully respects that. We also recognise that, under the future agreement, there may be change to the benefit of UK fishermen. But common stocks need to be managed jointly – according to international law and the principle of responsible and sustainable management of resources.

And any agreement cannot lead to the partial destruction of the EU fishing industry.I repeat: we have to agree on a balanced, sustainable and long-term solution for fisheries protecting the many men and women whose livelihoods depend on it.

The EU has always insisted that an economic partnership with the UK must include robust level playing field rules and an equitable agreement on fisheries.

This means that, by its current refusal to commit to conditions of open and fair competition and to a balanced agreement on fisheries, the UK makes a trade agreement at this point unlikely.

…Until the very last day of this negotiation and despite the current difficulties, the EU will remain engaged, constructive and respectful.

In any case, the UK has chosen to leave the Single Market and the Customs Union on 1 January 2021 – in little more than five months.

This will bring inevitable changes. On our side, we are getting ready.

We have published a Communication to help EU citizens, businesses and public administrations prepare for the end of the transition period.
EU leaders have agreed this week on a 5 billion euro special instrument – the “Brexit Adjustment Reserve” – to counter unforeseen and adverse consequences in Member States and sectors that are worst affected by Brexit.
In parallel, we have so far published over 70 sector specific notices: they explain in detail what actions must be taken in each sector to be ready for the end of the transition period. These notices are mandatory reading for stakeholders. They are available on our UK task force webpage.
But if we do not reach an agreement on our future partnership, there will be far more friction.

For instance, on trade in goods, in addition to new customs formalities, there will be tariffs and quotas.

This is the truth of Brexit. And I will continue to tell the truth.

If we want to avoid this additional friction, we must come to an agreement in October at the latest, so that our new treaty can enter into force on 1 January next year.

This means that we only have a few weeks left, and that we should not waste them.

Let me also remind you that we only have little time left to properly implement the Withdrawal Agreement.

Together with Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič, we continue to follow closely the implementation by the UK of its commitments under the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland.

In this context, EU leaders have also agreed on Monday to allocate 120 million euro to the PEACE PLUS programme in support of peace and reconciliation and of the continuation of North-South cross border cooperation.

The recent Specialised Committee on the Protocol was a useful occasion to take stock of progress. I would like to thank Michael Gove and his team for their engagement.

But we remain concerned that the necessary measures will not be in place on 1 January.

Let me remind you that there is no grace period for the proper implementation of this Protocol.

We also remain vigilant, together with the 27 EU governments and the European Parliament, to guarantee the rights of British nationals covered by the Withdrawal Agreement. In the same way, we expect the rights of EU citizens here in the UK to be safeguarded.

…Today in London, I want to reaffirm the EU’s willingness to reach an ambitious partnership agreement in all areas including, even later on, in external security and defense. This is also the wish of Presidents Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel, the European Parliament and the 27 Heads of State or government.

I continue to believe that Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the UK government want to find an agreement with the EU.

Because it is in our common interest to cooperate and to address the many and serious challenges of today: climate change and biodiversity, health and security, research and innovation, democracy and fundamental rights, the fight against poverty and financial stability.

If I may borrow a famous line from Saint-Exupéry, negotiation is not just to look or to speak at one another. It is to look together in the same direction.

I will be back in London with my team next week as planned.
A new round is foreseen mid-August.
Work continues. Our resolve remains unchanged”.

David Frost the Sherpa and EU adviser to Prime Minister made a separate statement.

EU adapts to post-Brexit

The European Commission has adopted a Communication to help national authorities, businesses and citizens prepare for the inevitable changes that will arise at the end of the transition period. Changes will occur to cross-border exchanges between the EU and the UK as of 1 January 2021– irrespective of whether an agreement on a future partnership has been concluded or not.

The British people decided in a democratic election to leave the European Union and its benefits. This means that no matter how hard we now work towards a close partnership agreement, our relationship will inevitably change. My top priority is to ensure that EU citizens and businesses are as well prepared as possible for 1 January 2021” Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.

Public administrations, businesses, citizens and stakeholders will be affected by the UK’s decision to leave the EU. Following the UK Government’s decision not to extend the transition period, we now know that these changes will take place on 1 January 2021 – deal or no deal. We are helping them to prepare as best as they can” the European Commission’s Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier, said.

The Communication “Getting ready for changes” sets out a sector-by-sector overview of the main areas where there will be changes regardless of the outcome of the ongoing EU-UK negotiations, and sets out measures that national authorities, businesses and citizens should take in order to be ready for these changes. It in no way seeks to prejudge the outcome of negotiations. As such, it does not examine the possible implications of a failure to reach an agreement, nor does it consider the need for contingency measures.

Its aim is to ensure that all public administrations and stakeholders are ready and well prepared for the unavoidable disruptions caused by the UK’s decision to leave the EU and to end the transition period this year. These measures complement actions taken at national level.

In parallel, the European Commission is reviewing and, where necessary, updating all 102 stakeholder notices, published at the time of the withdrawal negotiations – many of which continue to be relevant for the end of the transition period. The list of more than 50 updated notices is in annex to the Communication and all are available on the Commission’s dedicated webpage.

The European Commission will work closely with national authorities, businesses and other stakeholders over the coming months to help them prepare for the far-reaching changes that will occur at the end of the year, irrespective of whether an agreement is found.

The Withdrawal Agreement concluded between the EU and the UK secured an orderly departure of the United Kingdom, providing legal certainty in important areas including citizens’ rights, the financial settlement and the avoidance of a hard border on the island of Ireland.

The Withdrawal Agreement provided for a transition period, which ensures that EU law continues to apply to the UK from 1 February 2020 to 31 December 2020. At the end of the transition period, the UK leaves the Single Market and the Customs Union, thereby putting an end to the free movement of people, goods and services. The United Kingdom will also no longer participate in the EU’s VAT and excise duty area, nor in EU policies and programmes, and will stop benefitting from the EU’s international agreements. Changes will affect both sides and happen irrespective of whether or not an agreement on a future partnership between the EU and the United Kingdom is reached.

The EU and the UK are currently negotiating an agreement on a new future partnership, but even if such an agreement is concluded, the future relationship between the EU and the UK will be very different from what it is currently, including the end of frictionless trade.

There will inevitably be barriers to trade in goods and services and to cross-border mobility and exchanges. Public administrations, businesses, citizens and stakeholders on both sides will be affected and must therefore prepare.

The United Kingdom left the European Union on 31 January 2020.

Barnier reveals «serious divergences» 

“This week, David Frost and I continued our discussions, together with a restricted number of experts on each side” reads the statement of the EU top negotiator Michel Barnier, concluding the week of talks with the UK counterparts on future EU-UK post-Brexit agreement.

As agreed two weeks ago at the High-Level Meeting between Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Presidents Ursula von der Leyen, David Sassoli and Charles Michel, the EU sought to inject new dynamics in the talks.

Our goal was to get negotiations successfully and quickly on a trajectory to reach an agreement.

However, after four days of discussions, serious divergences remain.

The EU side had listened carefully to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s statements in recent weeks, in particular, his request to reach a political agreement quickly, and his red lines: no role for the European Court of Justice in the UK; no obligation for the UK to continue to be bound by EU law; and an agreement on fisheries that shows Brexit makes a real difference.

The EU engaged constructively, as we had already done during the fourth round of negotiations in June. We did so in line with the mandate entrusted to the European Commission by the Council, with the support of the European Parliament.

The EU’s position remains, based on the Political Declaration, that there will be no economic partnership without:

robust guarantees for a level playing field – including on state aid – to ensure open and fair competition among our businesses;
a balanced, sustainable and long-term solution for our European fishermen and women;
an overarching institutional framework and effective dispute settlement mechanisms.
And we will continue to insist on parallel progress on all areas.

The EU expects, in turn, its positions to be better understood and respected in order to reach an agreement. We need an equivalent engagement by the United Kingdom.

We continue to believe that an agreement is possible and in everyone’s interest.

We look forward to the next round of negotiations in the week of 20 July.

In the meantime, and as agreed, we will continue our discussions in London next week.”

The British top negociator David Frost has also issued a statement, concluding the week of talks.

We have completed our discussion of the full range of issues in the negotiation in just over three days. Our talks were face to face for the first time since March and this has given extra depth and flexibility to our discussions.
The negotiations have been comprehensive and useful. But they have also underlined the significant differences that still remain between us on a number of important issues.
We remain committed to working hard to find an early understanding on the principles underlying an agreement out of the intensified talks process during July, as agreed at the HLM on 15 June,”
Frost wrote.
Talks will continue next week in London as agreed in the revised terms of reference published on 12 June.”

II round of EU-UK talks

Second round of negotiations on future EU/UK relations starts tomorrow. Michel Barnier and David Frost leading large delegations. Looking forward to progress across the board , in spite of COVID-19 -related logistical constraints #NewBeginnings” tweeted EU Ambassador to UK Joao Vale De Almeida.

We need real, tangible progress in the negotiations by June. We must advance across all areas” the EU top negotiator Michel Barnier wrote on his Twitter microblog,

Extending would simply prolong negotiations, create even more uncertainty, leave us liable to pay more to the EU in future, and keep us bound by evolving EU laws at a time when we need to control our own affairs. In short, it is not in the UK’s interest to extend” wrote David Frost on his Twitter.

Both top negotiators had suffered COVID-19. The UK envoy David Frost has followed his counterpart Michel Barnier into self-isolation after being touched by mild symptoms of coronavirus. However this personal situation will not change the general Brexit frame or transition, because the process has to be fulfilled by the 31 of December, which is enshrined in the British law,