A tense standoff has emerged between the UK and EU as they attempt to negotiate a Brexit free trade agreement. Both UK Chief Negotiator David Frost and his EU counterpart Michel Barnier have accused each other being “unreasonable” in their demands. Wolfgang Munchau, Co-Founder and President of Eurointelligence, revealed to Bloomberg that both sides would compromise on some parts, but warned that the EU would likely refuse to budge on one big issue.
When asked if a deal by December was still likely, he said: “I think it is still possible but you can never know this.
“You can certainly not know this from the noise that you’re getting at this stage.
“Whether or not you’re going to get a deal you will be at the position where we’re at now where the two sides trade insults and make it hard.
“Now privately the two negotiators will have indicated to each other where there is room for compromise.”
Mr Munchau continued: “We’re already seeing that the UK is ready to compromise on fish, the position is not as binary as advocated in the beginning.
“The EU is probably going to compromise on the level playing field.
“It cannot sustain the demand that the UK subjects itself to EU regulation after Brexit, that is simply a demand to power.
“But it has a case to ask the UK to respect the level of regulations, the level playing field, at the point of departure.”
This week, Mr Frost sent a letter to Mr Barnier detailing all the ways the EU’s proposal did not suit the UK.
He wrote: “What is on offer is not a fair free trade relationship between close economic partners, but a relatively low-quality trade agreement coming with unprecedented EU oversight of our laws and institutions.”
Mr Barnier answered the letter with his own, saying that “detailed discussions on substance are for the negotiating table”.
He wrote: “I share your commitment to helping the process move forward together.
“I do not think, however, that an exchange of letters regarding the substance of the negotiations is necessarily the best way to discuss on substantial points.”