Brexit trade talks take place amid warning of EU's 'unrealistic positions'

29 June 2020, 12:16

Sir David Frost met with EU negotiators for the first time since the coronavirus crisis
Sir David Frost met with EU negotiators for the first time since the coronavirus crisis. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

UK negotiators have met face to face with their opposite numbers from the EU side post-Brexit trade talks intensify.

Boris Johnson's Europe adviser David Frost met with the European Union's Michel Barnier in Brussels for the first time since the coronavirus crisis forced talks to be held remotely.

Mr Frost will take up a new role at the end of August as the PM's National Security adviser, but has promised Brexit talks with the EU will "remain my top single priority until those negotiations have concluded, one way or another".

It has been reported the PM hopes the trade talks could see a deal agreed by the end of July, but both sides have acknowledged the end of October is when an agreement needs to be concluded in order to ratify it this year.

The current transition period expires in 185, and new agreements would have to be set in place or the UK would end up following, so-called, World Trade Organisation rules for its future relationship with the EU.

European Commission spokesman Daniel Ferrie said: "Our overall message this week, but also for the coming weeks and coming months, is to intensify our negotiations in order to make progress in order to get a deal."

Mr Ferrie said he had "no particular comments to make" about Mr Frost being given a second job while the negotiations continued.

He added: "From our side at least we are fully concentrated on the negotiations."

Ahead of the latest round of talks, Mr Frost said the EU's "unrealistic positions" would need to change if there is to be any progress.

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