The United Kingdom and the European Union launched on Monday in five weeks of intense negotiations on their post- relationship, with the common will to finally move forward to avoid a disastrous “no deal” at the end of the year.

Discussions began at 11:00 am local time with a meeting in Brussels between the EU negotiator, and his British counterpart David Frost, their first physical meeting since March.

They should continue throughout the week with short sessions, between small teams, on the subjects deemed to be the most problematic. Then the negotiators will meet each week, alternately in London and in the Belgian capital, until the end of July.

“We will make the most of our intensified discussions in the weeks and months to come,” Michel Barnier promised in a tweet, assuring that the EU would remain “calm and united in its principles and values”.

The acceleration of the discussions, by mutual agreement between London and Brussels, should make it possible to give them “a new impetus”, after four rounds of negotiations disturbed by the coronavirus and without major advances.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants to be fixed in July on the possibility of a compromise. “These talks cannot go on forever. We have to make sure that businesses can properly prepare for what will happen at the end of the year,” said his spokesman on Monday.

This ambitious prospect has, however, been politely rejected by Europeans, who are currently focused on their post-coronavirus recovery plan, and who consider October to be the real “moment of truth” in Brexit.


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