Third round of Brexit negotiations off to contentious start

World Today

Third round of Brexit negotiations off to contentious start

The third-round of Brexit talks is underway, but there’s not much progress reported. European Union negotiators accuse London’s representatives of not being “serious”.  

Not only do negotiators have to work out the terms of the split, they’re also expected to draw-up a trade-and-diplomatic agreement on relations afterwards.

CGTN’s Mariam Zaidi has details on this third round of the Brexit talks.

Negotiating the U.K.’s withdrawal from the EU was always going to be a big task. But with two rounds completed without meaningful progress, there was little optimism that another round, starting this week, would produce results.

So far, Round Three has been marked by insults, disagreements and little substance. Ireland wants the border with Northern Ireland – which is part of the UK – to remain open after Brexit. Some local economists ridiculed the idea.

“Reconciling a land border with a new economic relationship,” said Guntram Wolff, director of the Bruegel think tank. “It’s very difficult as Irish small businesses, farmers, they literally trade and live across this border. So, to think there are easy technical solutions for the trade of such small companies is just magical thinking.” 

The British say they’re coming to the latest round of talks prepared, expecting the EU to show some flexibility.

But according to negotiating guidelines, talks can only advance after making progress on three core issues—the U.K.’s financial settlement with the EU, the rights of U.K. and EU nationals after Brexit and the Irish border.

“We need to start negotiating seriously,” EU Lead Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier said. “We need U.K. papers on all separation issues. The EU 27 and European Parliament stand united. I am ready to intensify negotiations in order to advance.”

“U.K. has published many papers,” insisted UK Brexit Secretary David Davis. “They should form the basis for constructive talks. We are ready to roll-up our sleeves and get down to business.”

 Once again, we have two Brexit negotiators, talking in a similar fashion, but having polar opposite views on the state of play of Brexit negotiations.  But the problem is that time is running out and with it the expectation that any real progress will be made.