EU’s Barnier says significant differences persist in Brexit talks

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union's chief negotiator for Brexit said Thursday that talks with Britain about their new relationship will continue to be "significantly different" from 2021 onwards.

Britain left the EU in January and is in a transition phase in which the bloc – which will remain in its internal market and customs union until the end of the year – gives the two sides time to build a new relationship with everything from trade to security.

Negotiations have so far failed to fill gaps in fisheries and fair competition guarantees, among other things, and Barnier said after the recent talks in London:

“This week's discussions confirm that there are still significant differences between the EU and the UK. We will continue to work with patience, respect and determination. "

Negotiators will meet again in Brussels next week, but the bloc's executive commission said there will be changes in trade in goods and services, energy and legal cooperation, travel, and tourism from 2021, regardless of whether there is one new deal there or not.

"The fact that the UK will no longer participate in Union policies by the end of the transition period will create barriers to trade in goods and services, as well as cross-border mobility and exchanges that no longer exist today," said the commission in a note.

"These inevitable disruptions will occur from January 1, 2021 and will increase the pressure that companies are already facing due to the COVID 19 outbreak."

The Commission urged countries, businesses and individuals to prepare for, among other things, more detailed customs formalities for UK-Block goods traffic, more thorough procedures for recognizing transport licenses or professional qualifications, and stricter controls on travelers. https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/brexit_files/info_site/com_2020_324_2_communication_from_commission_to_inst_en_0.pdf

(Reporting by Marine Strauss; writing by Gabriela Baczynska; editing by Mark Heinrich)

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