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(08 May 2020) - The United Kingdom is preparing to walk away from trade talks with the EU and blame the impasse on the coronavirus pandemic, EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan said on Thursday (7 May).

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With only two more rounds of talks on a future trade and political agreement before a mid-June meeting between Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the EU has become increasingly exasperated by what they perceive as London’s lack of urgency in recent weeks.

“Despite the urgency and enormity of the negotiating challenge, I am afraid we are only making very slow progress in the Brexit negotiations,” Hogan, who had previously been a cabinet minister in Ireland, told RTÉ. He added that “there is no real sign that our British friends are approaching the negotiations with a plan to succeed. I hope I am wrong, but I don’t think so”.

The UK insists that it wants to broker a deal but that this will only be possible if Michel Barnier’s negotiating team drop their demands for regulatory alignment and for unchanged access to UK fishing waters. (EurActiv)

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