May 5, 2020 / 10:08 AM / a month ago

EU to demand progress on fishing, level playing field in Brexit talks - Ireland

DUBLIN, May 5 (Reuters) - The European Union will insist on making progress on its priorities of fisheries and level-playing-field provisions in parallel to trade talks with ex-member Britain, Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said.

Negotiations between the EU and Britain over new trade arrangements to kick in once a transition period ends in December have reached an impasse with Britain pushing for a basic free trade agreement.

Britain says that the EU is making demands it had not sought from other trading partners, such as an insistence on level-playing-field rules, including in areas such as taxation and state aid. Britain opposes measures that would require it to maintain rules similar to European standards.

The “EU will insist on parallel progress on LPF [level playing field], governance & fishing in order to progress a trade deal,” Coveney said in a twitter post following talks with chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier on Monday.

The implementation of the Northern Ireland protocol, which guarantees an open land border between British-ruled Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, is “also important to build trust,” Coveney said.

The EU’s tortuous Brexit talks with Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government were renewed in late April, but quickly hit snags, according to diplomats and officials in the bloc’s hub Brussels.

More negotiations are due to take place next Monday with EU officials noting there is still time for London and Brussels to meet a deadline at the end of June to agree on extending negotiations beyond the end of the year.

Britain says it does not want an extension, despite the coronavirus crisis making negotiations more difficult. (Reporting by Conor Humphries Editing by Peter Graff)

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