The Irish Times: Post-Brexit talks near make-or-break moment

German industry warns of ‘catastrophe’ on top of Covid-19 if EU finds no accord with UK, writes The Irish Times tonight.

Irish Times continues: ”Tensions have risen as British and European Union negotiators meet over video conference, with less than two weeks of talks remaining before London is due to declare whether it still intends to try to reach a deal.”

”This week sees the penultimate round of talks before June, when London has said it will decide whether to abandon talks and instead prepare to switch to default trade rules in January, something Germany’s main business lobby has predicted would be an economic disaster.”

“The coronavirus crisis has already cost very many jobs across Europe,” warned Joachim Lang, managing director of Germany’s BDI industry federation. “If the Brexit transition phase expires without an agreement at the end of the year, it would turn an already difficult economic situation into a catastrophe.”

”Major areas of contention divide the two sides over what Britain’s relationship with the EU should look like after December 31st. In the coming days, dozens of negotiators will try to work through these in video calls dedicated to deeply complex issues such as fisheries, trade in goods and services, energy and security cooperation.”

”We need tangible progress across all areas,” said the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier after the opening session concluded on Monday. “We are negotiating on behalf of the entire EU. There must be a proper balance of rights and obligations.”

”Both sides say little progress has been made on key issues since the first round of talks in March, before negotiations were knocked off course by the coronavirus pandemic.”

“Time is just too short,” said one EU official. “It’s very important that we make progress across all issues.”

To read the entire article, click here: Post-Brexit talks near make-or-break moment

Source: The Irish Times