Darren Adam 1am - 4am
Barnier: 'No significant progress' after fourth round of post-Brexit trade talks
5 June 2020, 12:17
The EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier has said "there have been no significant areas of progress" after the end of the fourth round of talks on a post-Brexit trade deal.
Mr Barnier said that in order to have an agreement ratified before the transition period ends at the end of the year, "we need a legal text by October 31st."
He said today at a press conference after a fourth round of talks came to a close that he hoped to meet again by the end of June and said "the door is still open" for the UK to extend the transition period.
He said: "All we are asking for is the political declaration to be complied with.
"There has been no significant progress on these points, not since the start of negotiations, and I don't think we can go on like this forever."
He added: "The UK has refused to extend the transition period to allow for more time for negotiations.
"From our side, as indeed was already pointed by President (Ursula) Von der Leyen we have always been open to extending this period by one or two years.
"It's possible and written into the agreement. Our door is still open to that end.
"However, if there is no joint decision to such an extension, as is the case now, if there is no change, the UK will leave the single market and the customs union on December 31."
The UK's chief Brexit negotiator David Frost has said the progress in the talks with the EU was "limited" but that the tone had been "positive".