EU's Barnier seeks out a real 'level playing field' during break from Brexit talks

European Union's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, wearing a face mask, leaves the Brexit trade negotiations in London, Britain, November 12, 2020. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

LONDON (Reuters) - European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier posted a picture of himself by the side of soccer pitch in London on Thursday, poking fun at ongoing Brexit negotiations which are stalled over how to create a ‘level playing field’ on trade.

Barnier is in London for last-ditch talks with the British government as both sides seek to avoid disruption to nearly a trillion dollars of trade when Britain’s transition period out of the bloc ends on Dec 31.

The picture showing Barnier looking out over a grassy pitch in a London park was tweeted alongside the caption: “Short break from intense (EU-British) negotiations in London. Went looking for level playing fields...”

Level playing field rules are one of several major sticking points remaining in the talks, with Brussels insistent that Britain cannot have both access to the EU market and the freedom to set domestic rules that give it an unfair competitive edge.

Reporting by William James; editing by Stephen Addison