EU says Britain must respect withdrawal pact, deal or no deal

FILE PHOTO: European Commissioner for Inter-institutional Relations and Foresight Maros Sefcovic arrives for a plenary session of Work Programme 2021 at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium October 20, 2020. Francisco Seco/Pool via REUTERS

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Britain must implement the Withdrawal Agreement on its exit from the European Union, regardless of the outcome of ongoing trade talks between the two sides, a senior European Commissioner said on Wednesday.

“Deal or no deal, the Withdrawal Agreement must be respected,” European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic told the European Parliament.

Sefcovic said the EU is committed to reaching a deal on the trade agreement and other aspects of their future relationship, but that the two sides remain “far apart” on the issues of fisheries and the so-called level playing field of fair competition.

“Our objective is still to reach an agreement that will pave the way for a new fruitful relationship between the EU and UK. We will continue to work for such an agreement, but not at any price,” he said.

Reporting by Kate Abnett; Editing by John Chalmers