Britain’s chief Brexit negotiator David Frost said Friday that Britain remains “committed to a successful outcome” in talks with Brussels after little progress was made in the fourth round of crucial talks.
“Progress remains limited but our talks have been positive in tone. Negotiations will continue and we remain committed to a successful outcome,” said Frost in London after the talks.
“We are close to reaching the limits of what we can achieve through the format of remote formal Rounds. If we are to make progress, it is clear that we must intensify and accelerate our work,” he said.
“We need to conclude this negotiation in good time to enable people and businesses to have certainty about the trading terms that will follow the end of the transition period at the end of this year, and, if necessary, to allow ratification of any agreements reached,” he added.
“Any such deal must of course accommodate the reality of the UK’s well-established position on the so-called ‘level playing field’, on fisheries, and the other difficult issues,” he added.
The latest talks, like previous rounds of negotiations over the past few months, were conducted virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The focus will now switch to a crucial meeting reportedly to take place later this month between British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.
Johnson has continually insisted he will not extend the transition period beyond Dec. 31, with Britain and the European Union (EU) facing the prospect of trade being conducted under World Trade Organization (WTO) rules if there is no agreement.
For his part, Michel Barnier, EU’s head of Task Force for Relations with the United Kingdom, said Friday in Brussels that there had been no significant progress in the latest talks started Tuesday, noting that the EU has always been open to the possibility of an extension to the transition period.
“Our doors remain open,” he said.
Britain ended its membership of the bloc on Jan. 31 and has until the end of the year to agree a permanent trade deal with the EU.