The EU and Britain started a decisive week of talks on Monday as negotiators from both sides try to hash out solutions for key red lines. Negotiations this year have stumbled over fisheries, fair competition as well as avenues for settling disputes. Brexit talks descended into new chaos this month when London proposed draft laws that would undermine its earlier EU divorce agreement. French MEP Nathalie Loiseau argued negotiations will not progress if the withdrawal agreement is not fully implemented.
Speaking to LBC, Ms Loiseau said: “We are concerned because so far the British Government has refused to withdraw the Internal Market Bill which clearly violates the withdrawal agreement.
“For the European parliament, we will not be able to give consent to any future relationship agreement if there is not full implementation of the withdrawal agreement in good faith.”
She added: “Talks yesterday had a friendly atmosphere but did not progress.
“The transition period is going to end in December and there has to be full implementation of the withdrawal agreement on both sides.”
An EU diplomat said however that “the mood music was a bit better” after Cabinet minister Michael Gove expressed confidence about securing a trade deal.
The diplomat said: “It’s high time that negotiations move forward, we need to make progress on issues like the level playing field, fisheries and governance.
“The UK still has to restore trust after the Internal Market Bill escalation.”
Trade talks headed by the EU’s Michel Barnier and the UK’s David Frost resumed in Brussels on Monday. Lasting until Friday morning and also due to cover energy cooperation and transport, they are the final round of negotiations scheduled so far.
Downing Street rejected the European Union’s demands to withdraw controversial clauses from the UK Internal Market Bill which could see the UK unilaterally tear up parts of the Brexit divorce deal.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “The Bill has been supported by the House of Commons and will continue its passage through the House of Lords.”
There was “no change in our position”, with the legislation providing a “vital safety net should an agreement not be reached at the joint committee”.
He added: “We continue to work through the joint committee to resolve the outstanding issues and ambiguity.”