The EU and UK have said there will be three further negotiating rounds by video conference before both sides must take stock of progress of the future relationship negotiations by mid-June.

The three rounds will be on the weeks beginning 20 April, 11 May and 1 June.

The original schedule had foreseen nine rounds of negotiation during the same period, but due to the coronavirus outbreak, negotiating rounds have been cancelled and scaled back, and replaced by video conferences.

Progress on the negotiations is due to be assessed by a High Level Conference in mid-June, most likely attended by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Most observers believe at that point the UK will have to decide whether or not to extend the post-Brexit transition period.

However, the UK government has consistently said it will not seek an extension to the transition period.

Today's announcement came following a video conference between the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier and his British counterpart David Frost.

A joint statement described the call as "constructive".

Despite the impact of the virus, both sides have exchanged draft legal texts and there has been contact between both teams to clarify the texts.

The statement said: "While this work has been useful to identify all major areas of divergence and convergence, the two sides agreed on the need to organise further negotiating rounds in order to make real, tangible progress in the negotiations by June."

Both men also discussed the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement, including the Irish Protocol.

The statement concluded: "They agreed that the proper and timely implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement was a key priority for both sides and noted that the Specialised Committees provided for by the Agreement, including on the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland and on citizens' rights, would meet soon."


Latest Brexit headlines