EU says Brexit talks ‘disappointing’ as UK fails to provide draft proposals

Michel Barnier, EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Boris Johnson and former Brexit secretary Steve Barcla

Michel Barnier, EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Boris Johnson and former Brexit secretary Steve Barclay. Photograph: PA. - Credit: Archant

Brexit talks this week have been labelled 'disappointing' by the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier as it emerged Boris Johnson's team failed to submit draft proposals.

Barnier told reporters that Brexit trade talks this week had been 'disappointing' and that the UK had failed to submit a draft proposal on fisheries.

The UK has only submitted proposals on aviation, nuclear and justice and security cooperation while the EU has already handed over a comprehensive plan on a future trading partnership.

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Barnier said the UK would not commit to 'fundamental' points on the level playing field and the role of the European Court of Justice and that it should consider a extension to talks.

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He said: 'We need to find solutions on the most difficult topics. The UK cannot refuse to extend the transition and at the same time slow down discussions on important areas.'

He added Britain needed to quickly 'provide firm guarantees rather than vague principles on fundamental rights and individual freedoms' otherwise they would face 'serious, serious' limitations for a security partnership.

Last month Barier called on the UK to accept rulings from the European Court of Justice (ECJ) if it wanted to remain a close partner in the block's crime-fighting agency Europol.

He also appealed for current talking points to be implemented in a 'serious, objective, legal way' in signs that the UK still remained vague on how it planned to enforce any future trade agreement,

The EU has signalled that it wants a single framework to jointly manage a future relationship but that the UK 'continues to insist on a number of separate agreements'.

This comes as EU officials and UK opposition parties have called on the Johnson government to extend trade talks while the region deals with the coronavirus outbreak.. A poll has found that a majority of UK voters back the idea, and so do half of Conservative and Leave voters.

Under the Withdrawal Agreement struck with Brussels, the transition period in which the UK continues to follow Brussels' rules runs until the end of the year.

It can be extended if more time is needed to secure a comprehensive trade deal if a request is agreed by both sides, but that must be lodged by the end of June.

Boris Johnson's team has ruled out any extension, calling it a direct contravention of the national interest because the UK might be required to pay into EU schemes if it does not leave by December 31.

Negotiations are scheduled to restarted on May 11 and again on June 1.

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