The public statements made by Brexit negotiators David Frost and Michel Barnier last week suggest that the latest round of Brexit negotiations has resulted in minimal progress on the key issues separating the UK and EU.
The negotiations have also thrust the complex state aid rules into the limelight, as the so-called "level playing field" provisions have become a major sticking point, along with the scope of EU fishing rights in British waters. The EU is seeking agreement that the UK will not seek to distort competition post Brexit by subsidising British businesses or reducing regulatory standards in a manner considered unfair by the EU. The gulf between the two sides on this issue was laid bare in the contrasting approaches reflected in Barnier's statement:
On the level playing field, the UK still refuses to commit to maintaining high standards in a meaningful way. On State aid, despite the clear wording of the Political Declaration, we have made no progress at all. This is all the more worrying because we have no visibility on the UK's intention on its future domestic subsidy control regime.