Post-Brexit trade talks are in danger of stalling again – and this time truck drivers are at the heart of the matter.
It is reported that the EU is reluctant to agree to British demands for UK truckers to be able to work extensively across the bloc once the transition period ends in December.
Brussels have pointed out that the requests are too similar to those enjoyed by truck drivers from member states and cannot be extended to a third party nation.
The seventh round of talks between the UK and the EU began in August, with both sides keen to reach a deal. However, road haulage – along with fishing and trade standards – are all proving to be sticking points.
According to an article in the Financial Times, the UK wants British hauliers to be allowed to travel across EU states when visiting outside nations such as Turkey. It also wants truck drivers to be able to make up to two drop offs within an EU country and three in total across the EU27, as well as unlimited access for empty trucks.
However, these are the rules that would apply if the UK was to remain a member state.
The EU has stated that a deal must be reached by the end of October in order for it to be ratified in time. The UK announced that it believes a deal could be reached by September.
A spokesperson for the EU said: “We want to have an ambitious and fair partnership with the UK.”
They continued: “We will remain engaged and respectful with the UK negotiating team in order to reach a deal.”
Meanwhile, the UK government has said its negotiators “will continue to plug the gaps where any differences remain.”
This latest dispute suggests that reaching a deal by October could be a tall order. Both sides are ramping up preparations for a no-deal departure.