Barnier assumes there are serious differences with Britain

Michel Barnier

There is “serious divergence” between Britain and the EU on their future relationship, the EU's Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said on Thursday after the first round of talks between the two sides on a new deal after Brexit. “An agreement is possible, even if difficult,” he told journalists.

The differences include robust provisions on the so-called level playing field which guarantees fair competition between EU and British companies after Brexit, Barnier pointed out. Another friction point is the fact that Britain wants a separate deal on fisheries to be renewed every year.

Barnier added London was seeking a series of separate deals, while the bloc wanted a one overarching agreement, which would also give the EU’s top court, the European Court of Justice, a final say on the interpretation of EU laws. He also said London refused to sign up to the European Convention on Human Rights.

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