Published On: Tue, May 19th, 2020

Brexit latest: UK goes public with negotiation papers to impel EU states to cave | UK | News

Downing Street has published 12 draft legal agreements, covering areas such as trade in goods and fisheries, amid fears the bloc has lost its focus on the negotiations as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. UK sources have indicated the plans could be used by Mr Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, to convince EU leaders that they need to budge on key issues. Talks ground to a halt last week after the two sides refused to compromise on their “maximalist” stance on fisheries.

Granting continued access to Britain’s fishing waters remains a contentious issue, with the likes of France, Spain and the Netherlands refusing to back down from their hardline demands.

No10 believes the British position has so far been misunderstood by the EU side.

Senior Government figures believe European capitals are too distracted by the pandemic to listen to Mr Barnier’s concerns.


A UK spokesman said: “Today we are publishing our draft legal texts, which have previously been shared with the EU negotiating team

 “We’re publishing twelve documents covering the full set of negotiating texts – including a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement as well as side agreements.

“We have decided to publish these now as a constructive contribution to the negotiations so that they are available to all and so that the Commission can share the texts with the Member States in case helpful.”


As well as trade and fisheries, the texts also include plans for aviation, energy, law enforcement and judicial cooperation.

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove told today MPs “significant differences of principle” remain on fisheries, governance and the regulatory level-playing field.

“It remains difficult to reach a mutually beneficial agreement while the EU maintains an ideological approach,” he said.


Mr Barnier angrily hit back at the UK announcement, demanding “tangible progress” in the next round of talks.

The Frenchman said: “I welcome the UK’s publication of draft legal texts today.

“Transparency is very important in negotiations. The EU Commission published a comprehensive legal agreement over two months ago.

“In the next round, we must make tangible progress across all areas, including level playing field and governance.”

More to follow.

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