Tag Archives: Michel Barnier

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.”

EU-UK to «work hard» to deliver agreement

Prime Minister Boris Johnson met the President of the European Council Charles Michel, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, on 15 June by videoconference to take stock of progress with the aim of agreeing actions to move forward in negotiations on the future relationship.

“The Parties noted the UK’s decision not to request any extension to the transition period. The transition period will therefore end on 31 December 2020, in line with the provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement, the reads the EU-UK Statement following the High Level Meeting on 15 June.

“The Parties welcomed the constructive discussions on the future relationship that had taken place under the leadership of Chief Negotiators David Frost and Michel Barnier, allowing both sides to clarify and further understand positions. They noted that four rounds had been completed and texts exchanged despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Parties agreed nevertheless that new momentum was required. They supported the plans agreed by Chief Negotiators to intensify the talks in July and to create the most conducive conditions for concluding and ratifying a deal before the end of 2020. This should include, if possible, finding an early understanding on the principles underlying any agreement.

“The Parties underlined their intention to work hard to deliver a relationship, which would work in the interests of the citizens of the Union and of the United Kingdom. They also confirmed their commitment to the full and timely implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement.

Barnier laments lack of progress

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier has blamed the UK of “backtracking” on commitments on fisheries and other issues in post-Brexit trade talks towards the comprehensive agreement.
The EU civil servant regretted no “significant progress” had been made this week, and insisted the UK should “respect” rules agreed with the EU. He aslo suggested political will is needed to give a new momentum to current negociations, describled as largely in stalemate.

At present the UK and EU are are in dispute over competition rules, governance and fishing rights and police cooperation, and other issues.

“My responsibility is to speak to truth and, to tell the truth, this week there have been no significant areas of progress” Barner lamented.
“In all areas, the UK continues to backtrack under commitments undertaken in the political declaration, including on fisheries. We cannot and will not accept this backtracking on the political declaration” he added.

Barnier called for respect of the guidleins and objectives, enshrined for the political declaration, agreed by the UK and EU last year, which indicated objectives for a future relationship.

The UK sherpa David Frost said any Brexit deal would have to accomodate the UK’s well established position on a “level playing field”.

“We have just completed our fourth full negotiating round with the EU, again by video conference. It was a little shorter than usual and more restricted in scope. We continue to discuss the full range of issues, including the most difficult ones” he explained.

EU-EEA discuss Green Deal

The members of the EEA Council discussed, via video conference, the overall functioning of the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA Agreement) and the effect of COVID-19 on the internal market.

The members of the EEA Council also held an orientation debate on the European Green Deal, with the participation of Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission.

In the margins of the informal meeting of the members of the EEA Council, the ministers held an informal exchange of views on the EU-UK negotiations with Michel Barnier, Head of the Task Force for Relations with the UK. The ministers also discussed the external dimension of the COVID-19 crisis.

Lastly, the members of the EEA Council adopted a joint statement addressing the following areas:

– response to the Covid-19 pandemic
– cooperation in the EEA
– political dialogue
– withdrawal of the UK from the EU and the EEA Agreement
– development of the internal market
– incorporation of EEA-relevant EU acts
– European Green Deal
– EU programmes
– EEA and Norway Financial Mechanisms

The meeting was chaired by Gordan Grlić-Radman, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Croatia. The EEA EFTA side was led by Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway, who was accompanied by Katrin Eggenberger, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Liechtenstein, and Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland.

Barnier not «optimistic» about Brexit deal

European Union’s top Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said on May 15 that the third round of talks with the UK on a new partnership was “disappointing”.

“We’re not going to bargain away our values for the benefit of the British economy,” visibly discontent Barnier said a news conference in the European Commission press centre.

He added the bloc would not seal a new trade deal with London without level playing field guarantees of fair competition or without a comprehensive agreement on fisheries. In the context of COVID-19 virus all the negociations were conducted by telecommunications.

Barnier suggested the UK’s own demands were “not realistic” and warned of a looming stalemate.

The EU chief negociator underlined aim was a “modern, forward-looking” agreement with the UK which would avoid any tariffs or quotas on trade.
He also pointed out that the current talks would shape the relationship between the UK and EU for “decades to come” and the EU would not opt for a deal “at any price”.

When answering questions about the chances of Brexit economic agreement, he said he was “not optimistic, but still determined”, adding that the EU was “stepping up preparations” for a no-deal outcome.

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,

COVID2019: Barnier diagnosed positive

Today Michel Barnier the EU top Brexit negociator announced he his diagnosed COVID19 positive, he left a message on his Twitter microblog in English, wishing well all who is struggling with novel virus.(Image: archive).

Barnier also made a video in his native French language, explainging that for the moment he feels fine, and follows all the medical insturctions.

The president of the EU Council Charles Michel among many others wished well to the negociator, expressing his friendship and promising to do his absolute best to defeat the spread of coronavirus panepidemic.

EU-UK «ambitious partnership »

Michel Barnier (pictured) , the European Commission’s Chief Negotiator, sets out points of convergence and divergence following the first round of negotiations. Here is the translation from original in French:

“This new negotiation aims to build – or rebuild – an ambitious partnership, after Brexit, with this great friendly and ally country that is the United Kingdom.

We must rebuild everything, on new legal bases.

So we started this work in a serious and constructive way:

       with David Frost, who leads negotiations on the British side;

       and with the two negotiating teams.

These teams, exceptional by their size and their competence, are made up of experts representing:

       on the British side, the various ministries and departments concerned, and

       on the Union side, 22 Directorates General of the European Commission, the External Action Service, and the General Secretariat of the Council.

I would like to sincerely thank all of these people for their work, their professionalism and, above all, for the cordial and constructive spirit they have shown over the past few days.

And I would like to personally thank President Ursula von der Leyen and her cabinet for the trust and support they have shown me”.

EU-UK negotiation mandate adopted

The Council adopted a decision authorising the opening of negotiations for a new partnership with the UK and formally nominating the Commission as the EU negotiator. The Council also adopted negotiating directives which constitute a mandate to the Commission for the negotiations.

The first formal meeting between the EU and UK negotiators is expected to take place in early March. EU ministers also discussed the next steps in the EU-UK relationship.

The Council adopted a decision giving the go-ahead to open negotiations on a new partnership with the UK. The Council also nominated the Commission as EU negotiator and adopted the negotiating directives which set the scope of the future partnership. This mandate covers areas such as trade, fisheries, foreign policy, security and defence, law enforcement and judicial cooperation in criminal matters.

As a next step, the Commission will agree with the UK the dates for the first negotiating sessions.

The Council has adopted a clear and strong mandate for our negotiator, Michel Barnier. This confirms our readiness to offer an ambitious, wide-ranging and balanced partnership to the UK for the benefit of both sides. The EU is now ready to start negotiations” said
Andreja Metelko-Zgombić, Croatian State Secretary for European Affairs.

EU Brexit talks to resume next week

The European Union has agreed to the UK request for a Brexit deadline extension but set no new exact date, offering to Westminster sufficient time to decide on Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s proposal for a snap election. (Image above: Michel Barnier,  archive)

There was full agreement on the need for an extension,” an EU official said after ambassadors discussed postponing the deadline, less than a week before the agreed date of October 31.

Work will continue over the weekend” and the envoys will meet again in Brussels on October 28-29, the civil servant said.

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