The UK and EU chief negotiators for Brexit are in self-isolation on Friday as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, which calls into question the schedule of the Brexit talks.
David Frost, 55, is in self-isolation after showing symptoms of coronavirus, according to a UK official.
And 69-year-old Michel Barnier from the EU announced on Thursday that he had tested positive for the virus.
The two top officials met two weeks ago in Brussels for the first round of talks, but have not had any contact since then.
“I would like to inform you that I have tested positive for # COVID19. I’m fine and in a good mood. I follow all the necessary instructions, as do my team, ”tweeted Barnier. “For all those affected and for everyone who is currently isolated, we will do this together.”
A representative from the UK government replied: “We send our best wishes to Michel Barnier on his recovery.”
The trade talks between the UK and the EU should be concluded by the end of the year. If no agreement is reached, both sides would act on World Trade Organization terms, which would include the introduction of tariffs and quotas.
The Anadolu agency spoke to two experts to determine whether the coronavirus outbreak would affect the Brexit talks.
UK: Keep calm and carry on
Before the coronavirus surfaced, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson ruled out any further expansion of Brexit a long time ago when he ran his election campaign under the motto “Get Brexit Done”.
Extending the transition period would also mean the UK would have to make financial contributions to the EU – something London doesn’t want to do, but Brussels would be happy if the EU struggles to break the £ 60bn hole. USD) to fill left by the British withdrawal.
A round of Brexit talks planned for the beginning of this week has already been postponed due to the outbreak.
“We are confident that we can achieve this, and I do not believe that delaying the Brexit negotiations would give everyone on both sides of the channel the security they need,” said Foreign Minister Dominic Raab.
It was suggested that action should be taken to continue negotiations, including the increased use of video conferencing. The idea has run into problems given the size of the talks. More than 200 officials in 11 working groups participated in the previous round of talks.
David Paton, Professor of Industrial Economics at Nottingham University Business School, said: “At least at this stage there is no need to delay the Brexit talks. Obviously, the EU side has an incentive to delay as it would be happy if the UK were bound by EU rules and paid contributions for as long as possible.
“It needs some clarity on the part of the EU as to whether they are really interested in a trade deal that is acceptable to the UK; H. With Great Britain, which is no longer subject to the European Court of Justice in any way. So far there is evidence that they may not be interested, and if they are, there is no reason whatsoever to extend it, given the added uncertainty this will bring.
“If the EU is able to commit itself to a mutually acceptable trade deal in principle, and the coronavirus crisis dominates the matter for a few more months, there could be very limited expansion to take technical precautions. There is certainly no need to agree to such an extension in the next few months and the UK government should resist the inevitable pressures it will face. “
EU: Open to renewals
Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, told German radio that the EU was open to British requests to delay Brexit if such a request were received.
Professor Tim Bale, UK Deputy Director in a Europe Change Initiative, said: “The UK government has made it clear over and over that it does not want to seek an extension. However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to believe that there will be another reasonable choice. All the attention – rightly now – is now on the coronavirus emergency.
“This simply doesn’t leave enough bandwidth to carry out the negotiations as planned. Johnson should be able to ask for an extension under these circumstances: even most Brexiters, it is believed, would understand. “
The UK coronavirus death toll was 177 on Friday, up from 40 in 24 hours – the largest increase since the outbreak began.
Officially known as COVID-19, the virus emerged in Wuhan, China last December and has spread to at least 166 countries and territories. The World Health Organization declared the outbreak a pandemic.
Of more than 275,000 confirmed cases, the death toll now exceeds 11,000 and more than 88,000 have recovered, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Despite the increasing number of cases, most infected people experience only mild symptoms and recover.