by Oleg Burunov
London and Brussels currently remain at odds over post-Brexit trade talks, with the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier berating Britain for failing to show a “due level of engagement” in the negotiations.
EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier has announced plans to write a book on the UK’s withdrawal from the bloc.
Speaking at a business conference in Paris on 26 August, he said that he thinks “it would be worthwhile that I tell how I’ve lived these [Brexit] negotiations in more detail”.
“I don’t just want to tell how we’ve handled the consequences of Brexit, but also why we need to take time to look into the lessons of Brexit”, Barnier added.
The EU official also said that he plans to start writing the book next year and that he has kept relevant notes throughout the four-year Brexit talks.
Separately, Barnier made it clear that the ongoing EU-UK trade negotiations may not wrap up in the coming weeks as the two sides seek to clinch a bilateral agreement.
“If we want to ensure the ratification of this new treaty at the end of the year, we need an agreement around October 31. The clock is ticking”, the official said.
He spoke after the sides kicked off the seventh round of talks in Brussels on 17 August, with Barnier voicing disappointment over the pace of the negotiations.
“[…] British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told us in June that he wished to speed up the negotiating process during the summer. But this week, once again, as in the July round, the British negotiators have not shown any real willingness to move forward”, the EU’s chief negotiator underscored.
He also urged the UK to come with “clear and constructive proposals” in the next round of the trade negotiations in London.
Barnier and his British counterpart David Frost have repeatedly blamed each other for a stalemate in the talks. The EU official insists that a “new dynamism” is needed in the negotiations, while Frost argues that Brussels’ proposed deal “contains novel and unbalanced proposals which would bind this country to EU law or standards”.
The UK pulled out of the European Union on 31 January and has until 31 December to negotiate a trade deal with the bloc that will come into effect after the transition period ends.