As the Brexit talks will resume on Tuesday, the UK and the EU are looking for an agreement over their future relationship now that Britain has formally left the Union but remains tied to European rules for the duration of the transition period.
The previous round of talks showed little progress made by the two sides, and there are no apparent signs that the upcoming meetings, which will also be attended by UK prime minister Boris Johnson, will prove to be any different.
In an interview, EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said that "the UK has taken three steps back from the commitments it originally made", adding that the EU wants the UK to respect them "to the letter".
The transition period is set to expire on December 31 this year, hence the UK and the EU need to reach an agreement by then or risk ending up in a "no-deal" scenario, which both sides repeatedly claimed they want to avoid. There is still the possibility to ask for an extension, at least until July 1, but the UK has categorically ruled out it will do so.
"We are not going to ask for an extension, and if the EU requests one, we will not accept it," British negotiator David Frost said on Thursday, May 28.
In a statement released on May 15, after the last round of meetings, Frost said the "major obstacle" in the negotiations at the moment is represented by "unbalanced proposals" that, according to Frost, would see the UK still "bind to EU law or standards" after Brexit - something which is "unprecedented in Free Trade Agreements," he added.