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Coronavirus pandemic puts Brexit talks with EU on hold

17
Mar '20
Pic: Shutterstock
Pic: Shutterstock
Brexit talks between Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s envoy David Frost and chief European Union (EU) negotiator Michel Barnier scheduled to be held in London next week have been cancelled because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. The meeting would have been the second round of negotiations on a proposed free trade deal, intended to be completed by this year end.

The two sides, however, are considering holding a video conference, according to European media reports.

A joint EU and UK statement said: “Given the latest COVID-19 developments, EU and UK negotiators have today jointly decided not to hold next week’s round of negotiations in London, in the form originally scheduled. Both sides are currently exploring alternative ways to continue discussions, including if possible, the use of video conferences.”

Last month both sides unveiled tough negotiating mandates that clashed over how closely the United Kingdom should align with EU rules on areas like courts and fisheries.

Though the coronavirus outbreak has pushed Brexit out of the spotlight, negotiators feel backend efforts must continue if they are to seal the ‘broad outline’ of a deal before June.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)


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