Brussels advances in secondary areas of the Brexit negotiation

Brussels, Nov 20 (EFE) .- The European Commission (EC) recognized this Friday that “some progress” has been made in the negotiation on the relationship with the United Kingdom after Brexit in areas such as transport, but in key areas On competition, fishing and governance, the consensus has not yet reached, community sources told Efe.

In a meeting with the ambassadors of the Member States of the European Union (EU), the Secretary General of the EC, Ilze Juhansone, reported today on the development of the talks between London and Brussels.

The communication came after a positive for coronavirus was announced on Thursday in the team of the community negotiator, Michel Barnier, which has forced a temporary suspension of the dialogue at the highest political level and has prevented the former French minister from participating in the meeting today with diplomats.

In that appointment, Juhansone admitted that there has been “some progress” in the negotiation, but assumed that the most complex aspects remain ahead, according to the sources.

Advances have been made in the area of ​​transportation, energy, and police and judicial cooperation.

However, London and Brussels have still not reached an agreement on the guarantees to ensure fair competition between British and EU companies, fisheries and the governance of the future pact, key aspects for the success of the negotiation.

In the case of competition, there has been “some progress” on state aid, as the United Kingdom “recognizes all the elements necessary for there to be an agreement.” However, negotiators have yet to clarify “the details.”

As far as fishing is concerned, the British Government insists on negotiating the quotas every year and separating the fishing section of the general agreement, while Brussels is committed to a “more stable” solution that is part of the agreement.

The sources added that in this Friday’s meeting “quite a few ambassadors” asked to accelerate the preparations and contingency plans due to the possibility of not reaching an agreement, after the leaders of France expressed themselves in the same direction at the virtual summit on Thursday. , Belgium and the Netherlands.

However, the Commission argues that the basis for the withdrawal agreement has existed since 2019 and contingency plans have already been planned for some sectors.

In fact, the Community Executive had not seen this urgency until now and considered it as a factor “that could even derail the negotiations if they did it very quickly,” the sources pointed out.

On the contrary, the Member States are of the opinion that now is the time to accelerate these preparations, given that on January 1, EU legislation will cease to apply in the British territory and the United Kingdom will permanently become a third country.

Furthermore, to approve these plans a process must be followed which includes consulting the European Parliament.

Also, during the meeting of the ambassadors there were “enough requests” to talk about the nature of the agreement, because if it is a pact only of the European Union, it is enough to ratify it in the European Parliament, but if it is a mixed agreement, some parliaments nationals will also have to speak.

In the agreement that London and Brussels are negotiating there are elements related to areas such as transport that could need the approval of national parliaments.

In any case, the sources detailed that the discussion was not to request a mixed agreement, but to clarify what type of document is planned to be agreed.

In any case, the ratification process may be modified, accelerated or compressed, as it must be completed before January 1, when London and Brussels will have to start trading according to the rules of the World Trade Organization if they do not reach an agreement.

Regarding the positive for coronavirus in Barnier’s team, the sources said that Juhansone informed the countries that the negotiators are being tested and when they receive the results it will be decided how to continue with the talks.

However, the negotiations continue at a technical level and “everything possible” will be done with resources such as videoconferences.

When the situation is cleared up, they will discuss how to resume the dialogue at the highest political level. EFE


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