Great Britain

Brexit news latest – EU threatens to PULL OUT of last-ditch talks but Dublin says deal is ‘imperative’ for everyone

EU WHAT?

THE EU has threatened to PULL OUT of post-Brexit trade talks while Dublin says it is "imperative" for everyone involved that a deal is agreed.

Talks remain stalled over the thorny issues of fishing and state aid as the clock ticks down to the end of the transition period on December 31.

EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen says the bloc is prepared for the UK to leave without a trade deal.

“With very little time ahead of us, we will do all in our power to reach an agreement. We are ready to be creative.

“But we are not ready to put into question the integrity of our single market,” she said.

Follow our Brexit live blog for all the latest news and updates…

  • NI BUSINESSES FACING 'VERY, VERY DIFFICULT' TIME IN JANUARY

    Northern Irish businesses are facing a "very, very difficult time" in January once the Brexit transition period ends, a senior civil servant has warned.

    Goods that will be shipped into Northern Ireland from Great Britain will face checks from January.

    Shane Murphy told the Stormont Executive Committee that there were "pretty low levels of preparedness" by firms as many have been concentrating on the impact of Covid-19.

    He said that clarity wasn't available for businesses because "key things are being negotiated in one forum or another".

    From January 1, Northern Ireland will remain in the EU's single market for goods while the rest of the UK leaves.

  • 'WE'RE READY'

    The EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has said the bloc is prepared for the UK to leave a without a trade deal.

    The transition period expires on December 31 and the UK and EU are stuck in talks trying to thrash out a last-minute trade deal.

    Talks continue to stall over the well-documented issues of the level-playing field, fisheries, and state aid.

    Von der Leyen said the coming days would be “decisive”.

    “With very little time ahead of us, we will do all in our power to reach an agreement. We are ready to be creative.

    “But we are not ready to put into question the integrity of our single market,” she told the European Parliament.

  • EAST COAST PORTS LAUNCH FREEPORT BID

    Two East Coast ports have launched a joint bid to become freeports post-Brexit.

    The Port of Felixstowe and Harwich International have joined forces as Freeport East.

    Hutchison Ports, which owns the Suffolk and Essex ports, said the status would help bring "lasting regeneration", the BBC reports.

    The government claim freeports will help drive post-Brexit growth by streamlining planning processes to aid brownfield sites; offering a plan of tax reliefs to protect jobs, and providing simplified customs procedures.

    The Port of Felixstowe is the UK's largest container port, accounting for more than 40% of container imports to and exports from the UK.

  • ONE GLARING OMISSION FROM THE CHANCELLOR'S SPENDING REVIEW

    There was one word that wasn't mentioned during Rishi Sunak's Spending Review announcement in the Commons on Wednesday afternoon.

    Yes, you guessed it - Brexit!

    The Chancellor didn't even mention the so-called cliff-edge at the end of the transition period if the UK doesn't agree a trade deal with Brussels.

    The Office for Budget Responsibility, an independent body, revealed that a no-deal would wipe an extra two per cent from the UK's GDP.

    Unemployment would increase by almost one per cent in the event of a no-deal exit as tariffs would result in price rises.

  • WILL BREXIT BENEFIT LEEDS UNITED?

    Football clubs across the country will soon find out how Brexit will impact their business in the January transfer window.

    Leeds United splashed out over £100million ahead of their first season back in England's top flight after a 16 year absence, but the rules could've changed by the time the Yorkshire side enter the market again.

    Director of Football Victor Orta told the World Football Summit: "The regulation in England are changing after Brexit (sic).

    "Next week we will know the next regulation, now a Brazilian or an Argentinian can be the same as a Spaniard, then obviously we need to [understand] any situation from the DTI.

    "We are waiting and then perhaps it's true that one of the things about Brexit is opening new markets in South American because now we can be more open for trying to get them with the situation for new work permit that is necessary to play here," he said.

  • PARIS ACCUSES BRITAIN OF 'DRAGGING ITS FEET'

    The French foreign minister accused Britain of “dragging its feet” in last-ditch Brexit negotiations and said Paris would not yield on the issue of fisheries, one of three key issues blocking a deal.

    The UK and the EU are in talks to try and thrash out a free trade agreement before the end of the transition period on December 31.

    "The outcome is uncertain. British overtures remain insufficient on the most sensitive matters,” Jean-Yves Le Drian warned today.

    “At this time, Britain is dragging its feet on secondary matters and is playing with the calendar.

    "I say this to our British friends, we won’t let the calendar take priority over the content of the accord.”

  • NI FACES 'CIVIL UNREST' OVER FOOD SHORTAGES

    Northern Ireland faces "civil unrest" as a consequence of potential food shortages caused by Brexit, a Stormont committee has heard this evening.

    Ulster Unionist MLA Doug Beattie, vice chair of the Executive Office Committee, said "worst case scenario" planning needs to be intensified amid concerns that supply chains could be disrupted, The Irish Times reports.

    “If there is a flood in England and a small town is cut off and foodstuffs don’t get into it, you don’t see that; the fact is people there are all in the supermarkets or the shops buying up everything on the shelves," he told the committee.

    “If that was to happen in Northern Ireland, if foodstuffs could not get in, if Asda was to withdraw and if Tesco was to say we can’t get food in, you would end up with the very same thing that we are seeing now with Covid, and that is panic buying.

    “If we get that panic buying, we will be seeing empty shelves, and a perception that in Northern Ireland there are food shortages, and a food shortages perception can create civil unrest.”

  • KEEPING EACH SIDE IN CHECK

    The UK's intention to override parts of the Withdrawal Agreement through the Internal Market Bill has not helped progress in this area of the talks.

    The EU wants to be able to retaliate quickly if the British government doesn't honour its obligations.

    The UK wants to keep fisheries and security outside the scope of the dispute resolutions provisions.

  • WHY IS THE LEVEL PLAYING FIELD AN ISSUE?

    The so-called level playing field is another key issue in the Brexit talks.

    It's an emotional issue as some Brexiteers claim that one of the opportunities of Brexit is that the UK could become a competitive rival on the world stage.

    In the political declaration, both sides have committed to "uphold common high standards" in the UK and EU at the end of the transition period in areas of state aid, employment rights, environment and climate change.

    The UK does not want the EU to be the baseline as it would mean the European Court of Justice is involved.

    Both sides are struggling how to define their common high standards and what institution would act as a mediator.

    A suggestion that has been put forward by the EU is the option of a "ratchet clause". If one side raises standards, then the other side should consider adopting then.

  • WHY IS FISHING IMPORTANT?

    Fishing has proved to be a thorny issue in the Brexit talks and remains a stumbling block in trying to secure an agreement.

    The UK is leaving the Common Fisheries Policy at the end of the transition period on December 31 and will take back control over its 200 mile exclusive fishing waters.

    The UK wants to hold yearly talks with the EU regarding what European fleets will be allowed to catch in British waters.

    A "zonal attachment" would divide up species between the two sides according to where the fish reside.

    The EU has resisted both options as they believe it doesn't offer security to European fishermen, and wants to minimise British gains.

  • WHAT ARE THE STICKING POINTS IN THE BREXIT TALKS?

    British and EU negotiators have been locked in talks ever since the UK left the trading bloc in January this year.

    Time is running out until the end of the transition period which will end on December 31.

    There are some issues that are stalling negotiations. What are they?

  • EU CHIEF: TRADE BLOC 'READY' FOR BRITAIN TO LEAVE WITHOUT A DEAL

    The European Union Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has said the bloc was prepared for the UK to leave a without a trade deal - as time ticks down until the end of the transition period.

    The transition period expires at the end of the year and the UK and EU are stuck in talks trying to thrash out a last-minute trade deal.

    Von der Leyen said the coming days would be “decisive”.

    “With very little time ahead of us, we will do all in our power to reach an agreement. We are ready to be creative.

    "But we are not ready to put into question the integrity of our single market,” she told the European Parliament.

  • BIDEN WANTS BREXIT DEAL DONE 'QUICKLY'

    Allies of Joe Biden have said that the president-elect wants a Brexit trade agreement secured quickly as he aims to rebuild the "coalition of the west" to respond to the threat of China.

    The Telegraph understands that incoming climate envoy John Kerry wants to see a "positive outcome" from the talks.

    It implies that the incoming American administration are urging Boris Johnson to reach a deal as EU and UK officials try to seek a compromise on fishing, state aid and the level playing field.

    All three sticking points have stalled the talks so far.

    Mr Biden warned yesterday that he did not want to see a "guarded" border on the island of Ireland.

  • BREXIT FESTIVAL SHOWS 'SHAMEFUL PRIORITIES'

    Millions of pounds are to be spent on a festival commemorating the UK's departure from the European Union.

    Ministers hope that the event will bring the country together following the divisions of the referendum.

    The festival remains controversial and opponents have blasted the event, arguing that devoting public cash towards it shows "shameful priorities" during the Covid-19 pandemic.

    SNP Brexit spokesperson Dr Philippa Whitford MP told The Courier: "t speaks volumes of the Tories’ shameful priorities that in the middle of a global pandemic and recession it has found around £29 million for its Brexit festival – a celebration of diminished rights and worse-off living standards."

  • FAILURE TO GET GOOD BREXIT DEAL WOULD WIPE 2% EXTRA OFF UK OUTPUT, SAY OBR

    Failure to agree a Brexit free trade agreement would wipe up an extra two percent off the UK's economic output while driving up inflation, grim forecasts revealed today.

    The Office for Budget Responsibility revisited its Brexit forecasts after deciding the prospect of a “no deal” exit remained a risk - just over five weeks until the UK leaves the transition period.

    Tariffs and disruption would hurt sectors of the economy such as manufacturing that had been emerging relatively unscathed from the pandemic.

    The independent body had already forecast Brexit would cost Britain 4% of GDP long-term even if Britain secures a free trade agreement with the EU.

    “This (no deal) would further reduce output by 2% initially and 1.5% at the forecast horizon,” the OBR said.

  • IRISH TAOISEACH BELIEVES DEAL CAN BE REACHED WITH 'CREATIVITY'

    Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said he believes the ratification of a Brexit deal can be facilitated with some degree of “creativity”

    Speaking to Euronews, Mr Martin said he believes there is a “landing zone” on the “level playing field” and that a deal could be agreed “perhaps on a staged basis”.

    The UK and EU are trying to iron out a future relationship, with the President of the European Commission saying on Wednesday that some issues remain undecided despite "genuine progress".

    Mr Martin warned that negotiating a deal was “tight” with time “running out,” but added that “sometimes you can get a good result in extra time.”

  • WELSH FARMERS BLAST GOVERNMENT

    The Government has been accused of a "Brexit betrayal" after the Welsh farming's budget was slashed by at least £95million.

    This is despite a key manifesto promise by the Tories to maintain agricultural and rural development to current levels.

    Chancellor Rishi Sunak revealed that Wales' agri budget would be cut to £242million, down approximately 28 per cent, North Wales Live reports.

    The bombshell announcement came just two days after the devolved administrations wrote to Environment Secretary George Eustice demanding assurances that funding would be maintained.

  • BREXIT DEAL "IMPERATIVE" FOR EVERYONE

    An Irish TD has said it is “imperative” for everyone that a Brexit deal between the UK and the EU is secured.

    Fine Gael TD Neale Richmond was speaking during a virtual meeting between Stormont’s Executive Committee and the Joint Oireachtas Committee on European Affairs, ITV reports.

    Mr Richmond said the Irish Government’s last two budgets were “framed on the basis that a no-deal Brexit was, unfortunately, the likely scenario”.

    As a result, expansion work is underway at Dublin and Rosslare ports as more customs and veterinary officials are hired.

  • CAR PRODUCTION FALLS AGAIN AMID SUBDUED DEMAND IN UK AND OVERSEAS

    he number of cars built in the UK fell by almost a fifth last month compared to a year ago, new figures reveal.

    Just over 110,000 models left factories, down by 24,490, or 18.2%, on October 2019, said the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

    The impact of coronavirus and fresh lockdowns in the UK and overseas subdued demand for new cars in many key markets, said the trade body.

    October's decline was driven largely by falling exports, particularly to the EU and United States.

    Shipments to the US fell by 26% and to the EU by 25.7%, said the SMMT.

    Major Asian markets fared better, with exports to Japan and China up 57.1% and 9.7% respectively, reflecting less stringent lockdown measures, but this was not enough to offset losses elsewhere.

  • A BREXIT DEAL IS 'IMPERATIVE FOR EVERYONE', URGES IRISH TD

    An Irish TD has said it is "imperative" for everyone that a Brexit deal between the UK and the EU is secured.

    As negotiations continue, Fine Gael representative Neale Richmond said the Irish Government's last two budgets were "framed on the basis that a no-deal Brexit was, unfortunately, the likely scenario".

    He said, as a result, expansion work is underway at Dublin and Rosslare ports as more customs and veterinary officials are hired.

    Mr Richmond was speaking during a virtual meeting between Stormont's Executive Committee and the Joint Oireachtas Committee on European Affairs.

    "We absolutely hope in the coming days that a deal can be secured," he said.

  • IRISH TAOISEACH SAYS 'GOOD RESULT' STILL POSSIBLE IN BREXIT TALKS

    Ireland's prime minister said on Wednesday there was still time for a "good result" in trade talks between Britain and the European Union and that he saw a landing zone for agreement on so-called "level playing-field" trade rules.

    "Sometimes you can get a good result in extra time," Micheal Martin told euronews television in an interview when asked if time was running out for an agreement.

    "I do believe there is a landing zone on the level playing-field, that then leads into a dispute resolution mechanism that would enable both sides to react if one was undermining the agreement and in breach of the agreement," Martin added.

  • FRANCE ACCUSES UK OF DRAGGING ITS FEET IN BREXIT TALKS

    France's foreign minister accused Britain on Wednesday of "dragging its feet" in last-ditch Brexit negotiations and said Paris would not yield on the issue of fisheries, one of three key issues blocking a deal.

    Britain and the EU are in a last-ditch effort to agree terms to keep trade flowing without tariffs or quotas from the start of 2021, after London's current standstill transition out of the 27-nation bloc ends.

    "The outcome is uncertain. British overtures remain insufficient on the most sensitive matters," Jean-Yves Le Drian told a parliamentary hearing.

    "At this time, Britain is dragging its feet on secondary matters and is playing with the calendar. I say this to our British friends, we won't let the calendar take priority over the content of the accord."

    He said the two sides remained far apart on fishing rights, a totemic issue for both Britain and France. Britain, with rich fishing waters, favours annual catch negotiations but the EU is seeking a longer-term perspective for its fishing industry.

  • NO-DEAL BREXIT WOULD WIPE 2% OFF CORONAVIRUS-HIT UK ECONOMY IN 2021 - OBR

    A no-deal Brexit is forecast to wipe 2% off the economy next year and lead to a long-term decline in gross domestic product (GDP), according to the latest analysis.

    Trade talks between the UK and the European Union continue to be deadlocked as the December 31 cut-off date looms closer.

    If there is no agreement by the end of the year then the UK is set to revert to World Trade Organisation terms with its largest trading partner, a move the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has forecast could "reduce real GDP by a further 2% in 2021", on top of the havoc wreaked by coronavirus.

    The economic shock of the "various temporary disruptions to cross-border trade and the knock-on impacts" would continue for years to come, it predicted.

    In its analysis, published to coincide with Wednesday's Spending Review, the OBR said: "As these abate, the longer-term effects of lower trade intensity continue to build such that output is 1.5% lower than our central forecast after five years, and 2% lower in the long run."

  • BRITAIN EYES 'QUICK WIN' POST-BREXIT INSURANCE REFORM, SAYS BOE OFFICIAL

    Britain is considering a "quick win" reform of capital rules for insurers after the Brexit transition period ends, a senior Bank of England official said on Wednesday.

    The rules were inherited from the bloc and Brexit gives Britain a free hand to amend them, with lawmakers saying changes are needed to keep insurers competitive.

    BoE regulators will look to rejig so-called Solvency II regulations in Britain as quickly as it can, Victoria Saporta, executive director of prudential policy at the BoE, told the Reuters Events Future of Insurance Europe conference.

    The central bank has a long list of items for potential reform, she said.

    "If we see that there are certain quick wins, and there could well be some quick wins in regulatory reporting for instance, then we might be able to deliver them," Saporta said.

    Areas of focus include tweaking risk margins, regulatory reporting and rules around Libor, Saporta said, adding that regulators would need to work with the Treasury and Parliament, meaning some changes will take longer due to the need for changes in the law.

    "And also, we really really do need to look at the evidence and provide a sort of very careful assessment."

  • GRIM OFFICIAL FORECASTS PREDICT HIGHEST PEACETIME BORROWING AND 11% GDP PLUNGE

    Britain's economy will suffer the biggest plunge in output for more than 300 years and government borrowing will balloon to a peacetime high of £394 billion, the fiscal watchdog has warned.

    The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) said £218 billion of government support to help the economy through the pandemic will see borrowing soar to the equivalent of 19% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020-21.

    The borrowing marks the highest level in Britain's peacetime history and a significant hike on the £372.2 billion forecast by the OBR only three months ago.

    It will leave UK public sector debt at 105% of GDP - the highest level since 1959-60.

    In a grim set of forecasts, the OBR warned the economy is not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels until the end of 2022, while unemployment will peak at 2.6 million after furlough support ends next spring.

    GDP is predicted to plummet by 11.3% in 2020 - the largest annual fall since 1709, the year of the Great Frost.

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