The European Union and UK government have agreed to resume post-Brexit talks next week, where they will confront entrenched divisions on trade and fishing rights over video link.
The two sides released a timetable for the next three rounds of negotiations in an attempt to get coronavirus-disrupted talks back on track, following a video conference on Wednesday between the prime minister’s chief negotiator, David Frost, and his EU counterpart, Michel Barnier.
Following Brexit day on 31 January, the EU and UK managed only one round of talks before coronavirus crashed them. There were two cancelled sessions and the lead players were put into isolation.
In a joint statement, the two sides said recent technical work had been “useful to identify all major areas of divergence and convergence”, but they agreed there was a need to organise further talks “in order to make real, tangible progress in the negotiations by June”.
IMF head calls for Brexit trade talk extension
Meanwhile, the IMF has suggested the UK and the EU should "not to add to uncertainty" from coronavirus by refusing to extend the period to negotiate a post-Brexit trade deal.
Managing director Kristalina Georgieva, when asked what she thought about the prospect of no trade deal this year and no extension to talks, told the BBC that because of the "unprecedented uncertainty" arising from the pandemic it would be "wise not to add more on top of it".