March 5, 2020 / 12:43 PM / a month ago

EU's Barnier: "serious" differences with Britain after first round of talks

BRUSSELS, March 5 (Reuters) - There is “serious divergence” between Britain and the European Union on their future relationship, the bloc’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said on Thursday after the first round of talks between the two sides on a new deal after Brexit.

“An agreement is possible, even if difficult,” Barnier also told journalists.

The differences include robust provisions on the so-called level playing field which guarantees fair competition between EU and British companies after Brexit, he said.

Another friction point is the fact that Britain wants a separate deal on fisheries to be renewed every year, something Barnier called impractical.

He added London was seeking a series of separate deals, while the bloc wanted a one overarching agreement, which would also give the EU’s top court, the European Court of Justice, a final say on the interpretation of EU laws.

He also said London refused to sign up to the European Convention on Human Rights. (Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska)

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