#Brexit – The EU and UK agree to a single governance structure for a future agreement

| July 23, 2020

EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier

The EU’s Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier said there had been some progress during this week’s round of negotiations with the UK. He said that there has been a narrowing of divergences in the areas of social security coordination and Union programmes; progress on the use of a single governance structure for the agreement – which contains robust enforcement mechanism; as well as good discussions on police and judicial cooperation, though differences remain. 

On two important subjects, transport and energy, Barnier said there had been intense and useful discussions. However, he said the UK continued to request single market-like benefits.

Barnier said that there was still no progress on two essential topics of our economic partnership: “First, there must be robust guarantees for a level playing field – including on State aid and standards – to ensure open and fair competition among our businesses, also over time. This is a core interest for all 27 Member States – and in my view also for the UK. Second, we have to agree on a balanced, sustainable and long-term solution for fisheries, with the interests of all Member States concerned in mind, and not least the many men and women whose livelihoods depend on it on both sides.”

On the level playing field, the EU says the UK still refuses to commit to maintaining high standards in a meaningful way and on state aid there has been no progress at all.

There will a further round of negotiations in August, both sides appear to be aiming for an agreement by the September round.

The UK’s Chief Negotiator, David Frost said: “The EU has listened to the UK on some of the issues most important to us, notably on the role of the Court of Justice, and we welcome this more pragmatic approach. Similarly, we have heard the EU’s concerns about a complex Switzerland-style set of agreements and we are ready to consider simpler structures, provided satisfactory terms can be found for dispute settlement and governance. 

“But considerable gaps remain in the most difficult areas, that is, the so-called level playing field and on fisheries. We have always been clear that our principles in these areas are not simple negotiating positions but expressions of the reality that we will be a fully independent country at the end of the transition period.”

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