The United Kingdom and Europen Union trade negotiators have commenced high-stakes post-Brexit deal talks after over a month British government left the bloc.
Naija News understands the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier and his UK counterpart David Frost will lead the talks, which would be held over several weekly rounds in Brussels and London.
This online media recalls that the negotiations have been clouded by mistrust and weeks of chest-beating as each side has accused the other of shifting away from goals set out in a non-binding political declaration struck late last year as both parties insist on setting its own rules in the name of “economic and political independence”.
The acrimony pushed the British pound 1.3% lower against the euro today, amid fears that Britain’s hard-line stance would hurt the economy.
However, experts have also warned that the two sides are on a collision course, with a deal highly unlikely without a major concession. Fabian Zuleeg, head of the European Policy Centre, said he was “pessimistic” about the outcome, because of the UK’s fervent desire to break from EU rules.
“It’s very difficult to see where they could meet to make this work,” he said. If the British government “sticks to their line, there cannot be a deal”.
A deal between the EU and the UK by the end of the year is still possible, but it will require both parties to drift away from their opening positions,” said Sam Lowe, a senior research fellow at the Centre for European Reform.“In practice, it requires the UK to move a lot, and the EU to move a little,” he said.