Michel Barnier says EU is ‘calm and united’ as latest round of Brexit trade talks restart

PUBLISHED: 16:23 29 June 2020 | UPDATED: 16:53 29 June 2020

Michel Barnier, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, who has told Boris Johnson to stick to his promises as he warned there would not be a trade deal otherwise; Stefan Rousseau

Michel Barnier, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, who has told Boris Johnson to stick to his promises as he warned there would not be a trade deal otherwise; Stefan Rousseau

PA Wire/PA Images

Chief EU negotiator Michel Bariner has said the bloc will remain “calm and united” during the next round of Brexit trade talks.

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Negotiating teams from both sides of the Channel have met face-to-face on Monday for the first time since the coronavirus outbreak in a bid to revive Brexit negotiations.

The last time the two sides met, negotiators failed to reach an agreement on points such as the level playing field, fisheries, workers rights, environmental protections and state subsidies.

When talks ended in deadlock, UK negotiators were quick to heap blame on the EU officials, complaining that their proposals for a pact would leave Britain tied to Brussels’ rules.

Now, Barnier has upped the ante, saying his team ready to “make the most” of the intensified process over the coming weeks and months.

“[We are] calm and united in its principles and values,” he warned.

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European Commission spokesman Daniel Ferrie said the Union remained ready “to make progress in order to get a deal”.

Talks resume a day after it was announced that the UK’s lead Brexit negotiator, David Frost, would replace Sir Mark Sedwill as national security adviser alongside his responsibilities on Europe.

But the appointment has not deterred Brussels, which said it was “fully concentrated” on reaching a deal.

Downing Street indicated that it wanted a post-Brexit deal largely concluded by the time Frost takes up the new role at the end of August.

Prime minister Boris Johnson has previously said he wants the UK-EU talks to result in a deal by the end of July, although both sides have acknowledged that the end of October is when an agreement needs to be concluded in order to ratify it this year.

The prime minister’s official spokesman said: “We have been clear on a number of occasions that these talks shouldn’t drag and that we want and need them to concluded by the autumn.”

The current transition period expires at the end of the year, meaning new arrangements will need to be in place by January 1 or the UK will follow World Trade Organisation rules for its relationship with the EU.

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