Michel Barnier has announced that high-level Brexit talks have been suspended after a member of the EU negotiating team was found to have Covid-19.
The EU negotiator said teams of officials will continue to work on the text of a trade agreement but that he and his UK counterpart David Frost have “decided to temporarily suspend negotiations at our level”.
The British negotiators have been holding talks with the EU team in Brussels since Sunday. There is increasing hope that an agreement can be reached in the coming days.
Discussions focused on the remaining key issues of EU fishing fleet rights in UK waters, guarantees of a level playing field for business and how to enforce an agreement.
The rest of the contract text – estimated at 1,800 pages – is largely written, even if the negotiation chapters are not officially closed.
Both sides are trying to strike a deal before the ratification time runs out before the end of Britain’s post-Brexit transition on January 1st.
A participant in the negotiations said that some officials would now have to go into self-isolation due to the discovery of the Covid case.