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EU parliament to urge UK to ‘revise’ Brexit talks stance

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EU’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier gives a press conference after a Brexit negotiations meeting, at the EU Commission, in Brussels on June 5, 2020. – Britain on June 5, 2020, said there had been little movement in the latest round of post-Brexit trade talks, calling for both sides to double down and speed up negotiations to secure a deal. (Photo by YVES HERMAN / POOL / AFP)

The European Parliament will on Friday urge Britain “to urgently revise its negotiating position” to avoid a breakdown in post-Brexit trade talks, according to a draft resolution seen by AFP.

The draft says London must agree that future UK-EU ties be governed by “a single, comprehensive and horizontal governance mechanism” to oversee compliance with a “level playing field” of economic regulations.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to hold a video conference with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen later this month to review progress in talks on cross-Channel ties after Britain quit the bloc.

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But the parliament, in the draft, “regrets that, following four rounds of negotiations, no real progress has been achieved” and accuses the UK of “not engaging in detailed negotiations on the level playing field”.

British officials insist they will honour their commitments to trade fairly, with high environmental and workplace standards for example, but say they will not be bound by EU law and want a simple free trade deal.

Talks between EU negotiator Michel Barnier and his British counterpart David Frost are expected to resume after Johnson’s meeting with Von der Leyen, to try to find a deal before the end of the year.

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Britain — which left the EU on January 31 after 47 years inside the European project — will leave the single market and customs union on December 31 after an 11-month transition.

On Thursday, Barnier stressed that Europe is still looking for a deal — and remains “open” to allowing an extension to talks if Britain asks — but warned that the EU will defend its single market.

“We need to look to our long-term interests,” he tweeted. “Our mandate is sufficiently flexible to find compromises with UK. There is no need for us to change or adjust it.”

Brussels sources told AFP that Johnson has been invited to hold his talks with Von der Leyen and Charles Michel, the president of the European Council, on June 15, but British officials say no date had been set.

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