UK-EU trade talks break up early with ‘significant differences’ remaining

The latest round of talks between Britain and the EU on a post-Brexit trade deal have broken up early with “significant differences” remaining between the two sides.

The talks this week – which have been taking place in Brussels with the negotiating teams meeting face-to-face for the first time since the Covid-19 outbreak – had been due to continue to Friday.

In a statement, the UK’s chief negotiator David Frost said that while the ability to meet in person had given “extra depth and flexibility” to the discussions, there was more to do.

“We have completed our discussion of the full range of issues in the negotiation in just over three days,” he said.

“The negotiations have been comprehensive and useful. But they have also underlined the significant differences that still remain between us on a number of important issues.”

His EU opposite number Michel Barnier said that while Brussels had engaged “constructively”, officials needed to see an “equivalent engagement from the UK side”.

“Our goal was to get negotiations successfully and quickly on a trajectory to reach an agreement,” he said.

“However, after four days of discussions, serious divergences remain.”