EU And UK Agree To More Talks On Post-Brexit Trade Deal
British and EU negotiators have agreed to stage three further rounds of talks on a post-Brexit trade deal in a bid to make "real, tangible progress" before the end of June.
David Frost, the UK's chief negotiator, and his EU counterpart Michel Barnier took stock of the technical work that has been done since the first round of negotiations in a video-conference meeting on Wednesday.
In a joint statement they said: "While this work has been useful to identify all major areas of divergence and convergence, the two sides agreed on the need to organise further negotiating rounds in order to make real, tangible progress in the negotiations by June.
"Given the ongoing coronavirus crisis, these negotiating rounds, the structure of which is set out in the terms of reference, will take place via video-conference."
The talks, each lasting a full week, will take place in the weeks commencing April 20, May 11 and June 1, with a further high level meeting expected in June to review the progress that has been made.
Under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, Britain has until the end of June to seek an extension to the Brexit transition period, which comes to an end at the end of the year, in order to allow more time for negotiations if it appears unlikely they will be completed by then.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, has however repeatedly insisted he will not seek any further delay, despite warnings from Brussels and from opposition parties in the UK that the Coivd-19 outbreak means that is now all but impossible.
The prime minister's determination to stick to the current timetable was said to have been underlined by Frost in his latest discussions with Barnier.