Great Britain

Brexit news latest- Phonecall with EU chiefs TODAY could make or break trade deals as negotiations put on hold overnight

A PHONECALL between Boris Johnson and EU chief Ursula von der Leyen could make or break negotations.

Today could be the most important day since the UK opted to leave the European Union as both sides work towards an agreement.

This comes as Brexit talks were paused last night after 'conditions were not met' after a week of "intense negotiations" in London.

Brexit trade deal talks ground to a stop over a 'ridiculous' EU demand for ten years' access to UK fishing waters, The Daily Telegraph reports.

The agreement must be done by the end of the month or Britain will revert to World Trade Organisation rules - meaning tariffs and increased checks on EU goods.

A senior Government source said: "Their new offer was frankly laughable.

"They know we can't possibly accept it. It's ridiculous. If they think we will just cave in, they have made a massive miscalculation."

The bloc's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, tweeted on Friday: "We agreed to pause the talks in order to brief our Principals on the state of play of the negotiations.

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

  • ‘MAKE A DECISION’

    The European Union has told Britain that it’s time to make a decision on a Brexit trade deal after a snag in talks prompted London to say chances of a breakthrough were receding.

    With less than four weeks left until the United Kingdom finally exits the EU’s orbit on Dec. 31, both sides are asking each other to compromise on fishing, state aid and how to resolve any future disputes.

    PM Boris Johnson will have to decide whether the UK should make last-minute compromises to secure or deal, or walk away from the talks without an agreement.

    European Council President Charles Michel said this morning that the next few days would decide matters and the 27 EU leaders holding a virtual summit on Dec. 10-11 would take a position.

    “The real question is – Which political, economic, social project do they want for their own future?,” he said.

    “And this is a question for the British government and for the British people.”

  • BREXITEER SLAMS MACRON

    Emmanuel Macron has been torn apart by a Brexiteer after the French PM said he wanted the EU to block the UK from making a trade deal and force us to 'beg' in 2021.

    Brexiteer and political commentator Patrick O'Flynn hit out at the French leader and argued if he believed Boris Johnson would beg then Mr Macron was “far less astute” than many give him credit for.

    Writing for The Daily Telegraph, Mr O’Flynn said: "It is France – our nearest mainland European neighbour and favourite historical foe – that views our repatriation of national sovereignty as unconscionable.

    "President Emmanuel Macron is said to believe that the EU side should walk away without a deal and then wait for a chastened UK to come crawling back desperate to agree terms early in 2021. Perhaps he envisages making Versailles available for the signing of the final accord, with a ‘Brexit Guilt’ clause prominent within it.

    "If he genuinely thinks Britain is likely to buckle given an early taste of what no deal means, then he is a far less astute reader of international affairs than many have given him credit for."

  • WHEN IS THE TRANSITION PERIOD ENDING?

    As investors tried to fathom from conflicting rhetoric whether the talks were close to the finish line or in serious trouble, a gauge of how volatile the pound is expected to be over the next week rose to its highest level since March.

    Britain formally left the EU on Jan. 31 but has been in a transition period since then under which rules on trade, travel and business remain unchanged. From the end of the year, it will be treated by Brussels as a third country.

    If the two sides fail to reach a deal, the five-year Brexit divorce will end in disorder just as Europe grapples with the vast economic cost of the COVID-19 outbreak.

    A no-deal exit is the nightmare scenario for businesses and investors, who say it would snarl borders, spook financial markets and sow chaos through supply chains that stretch across Europe and beyond.

    A British government source said the EU had disrupted talks late last night by trying to force further concessions.

  • UPDATE: 7-UK HANGS TOUGH ON SOVEREIGNTY AS BREXIT TRADE TALKS NEAR CLIMAX

    European Union officials said today a post-Brexit trade deal could finally be clinched this weekend, but London insisted that negotiations were still “very difficult” and it was determined to “take back control” from the bloc it left 10 months ago.

    With less than four weeks left until the United Kingdom finally leaves the EU’s orbit on Dec. 31, one EU official told Reuters that a deal was “imminent” and another suggested that it was days away.

    However, Britain sounded a less optimistic note after talks in London snagged late last night.

    “There are still some issues to overcome. Time is in very short supply, and we’re at a very difficult point in the talks,” a spokesman for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told reporters.

  • FRIDAY TALKS ENDED IN STALEMATE

    A week of intense trade talks between Britain and the European Union ended in stalemate stalemate, with attention turning to political leaders who will decide whether significant differences can be bridged.

    EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said he and his British counterpart, David Frost, had agreed to pause trade negotiations while they brief their political leaders. He tweeted that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will discuss the state of play on Saturday.

    The conditions for an agreement are not met, due to significant divergences on level playing field, governance and fisheries," Barnier said.

    Earlier, Britain's business minister said talks were at a difficult point, as U.K. officials poured cold water on hopes of an imminent breakthrough and France said it could veto any agreement it didnt like.

  • BREAKING: PAUSE ON TALKS

    Michel Barnier has said he and Lord Frost have agreed to “pause” talks on a post-Brexit trade deal while they brief their principals on the state of play of the negotiations.

  • UK SAYS TRADE TALKS AT A ‘DIFFICULT’ POINT, SAYS PM SPOX

    Trade talks with the European Union had reached a “difficult” moment, the UK Government has said.

    “Time is in very short supply. We are at a difficult point in the talks,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s official spokesman told reporters.

    “What is certain is that we will not be able to agree a deal that does not respect our fundamental principles on sovereignty and taking back control.”

    Downing Street insisted that its red lines will apply once Britain leaves the post-Brexit transition period on December 31: controlling UK borders, regulating its own state subsidies, and managing its fishing waters.

    The Government also intends to press ahead with two items of legislation that intentionally breach the Withdrawal Agreement.

    This would deprive Brussels of any say over future trade between mainland Britain and Northern Ireland.

  • BORIS HAS TO ‘WIN’ ON FISHERIES, SAYS FORMER CIVIL SERVANT

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson must emerge with a “win” on fisheries, a former diplomat has said.

    Fishing is one of the issues holding up a post-Brexit trade deal – with 27 days to go until the end of the transition period.

    The industry is an important point of national pride for coastal and island nations and has a massive impact on politics.

    Sir Ivan Rogers, former Permanent Representative of the UK to the EU, knows what Johnson’s task is during the final weeks before the Jan. 1 deadline.

    He has to emerge with a win on fisheries,” Rogers told a panel at the EPC think tank this week.

    “If Johnson cannot expel enough EU fishing boats from UK waters, a no-deal Brexit would surely ensue, creating chaos and costs for all and ruin for some.”

  • IRISH PREMIER HOPES FOR A DEAL

    Irish premier Micheal Martin said he 'fervently' hopes a trade deal is reached between the UK and EU.

    He added: "There has been intensive talks under way and ongoing between the United Kingdom government's negotiating team and the EU's negotiating team, and that is continuing.

    "My understanding and sense is that will continue over the weekend and there will be further engagement.

    "I fervently hope there will be a deal. I think a deal is in the best interests of the United Kingdom, it's in the best interests of the island of Ireland, it's in the best interests of the EU.

    “Particularly in the people we represent, workers, businesses, people involved in education across the broad. We need to give people certainty about the future.”

  • BACKING BREXIT DEAL COULD BE POLITICALLY ‘LETHAL’, SAYS FORMER LABOUR LEADER

    Voting in favour of a Brexit deal could be “politically lethal” and Boris Johnson must be made to “own” the consequences, former Labour leader Neil Kinnock has warned.

    This latest intervention comes as opposition parties are mulling over whether they will vote alongside the Government in support of a Brexit trade agreement, if one returns to the Commons.

    Neil Kinnock warned on the Lords’ WhatsApp group that: “If Labour supports the ‘deal’ all our future justified criticisms will be rebuffed ‘because we voted for this!’ and because it will be true, it will be lethal.”

    The Guardian reported that the former Labour leader supported the view to abstain.

    “We must abstain and explain that this is the rational course when faced with a damaging ‘yes’ and a disastrous ‘no’,” Kinnock reportedly told colleagues.

  • HIGHWAYS BOSSES PLANNING BREXIT “DRESS-REHEARSAL”

    Motorway chiefs are planning a Brexit “dress rehearsal” to ensure roads are ready for deadline day.

    Part of the M20 in Kent will close for four nights to test a new movable central reservation system designed to keep traffic moving amid delays at the busy Port of Dover.

    It is part of the Operation Brock system to allow traffic to continue moving in both directions by splitting the London-bound carriageway for while coastbound HGVs queue.

    Highways England say the new live concrete barrier is “much quicker” to deploy than previous systems which took weeks to install and remove.

    And it expects it to play “a key part in managing any disruption at the ports after the EU exit date” on New Years Eve.

    Highways England south-east operations director Nicola Bell said: “Operation Brock will keep Kent moving, and we thank road users in advance for their patience while the test is taking place.”

  • UPDATE ON THE STATE OF PLAY

    Differences still remain over fisheries, the level playing field, and governance, but officials are trying to "get a deal done" this weekend, according to an EU official close to the talks.

    The source told the BBC: "Both sides are giving it their all. We’ll try and get this done this weekend if at all possible."

    Talks are currently paused but it's expected that they will resume later today.

    It's not known where chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier will return to Brussels.

    Differences remain on three issues but has reportedly told Katya Adler that "things will move very quickly" if and when there is any movement.

  • UK SECURES SWISS AGREEMENT

    The UK has secured an agreement with Switzerland which allows service professionals to work in the country visa-free for 90 days.

    The deal is worth over £17bn and is part of the UK's strategy to enhance its status as a global services hub.

    The agreement will come into force from January 1 once the UK exits the transition period, and will last for two years.

    Trade Secretary Liz Truss said: "We have a golden opportunity to lead the world in modern areas like tech and services, and to push new frontiers in trade.

    "Ultimately, we want to create a cat’s cradle of deals with dynamic economies that share our values and commitment to rules-based free trade.

    "This deal – with a fellow services powerhouse – is an important part of that vision. It provides vital continuity for businesses and paves the way for a more advanced deal with Switzerland in the future."

  • 'NO WHITE SMOKE'

    Reports suggest that Brexit talks have broken up for now, but will restart again this evening.

    An immediate breakthrough remains unlikely.

  • BRITAIN'S ATTEMPTS TO PUT PRESSURE ON EU 'MISGUIDED', SAYS IRISH FOREIGN MINISTER

    Threats by the UK government to reintroduce legislation that violates the Northern Ireland Protocol are a "misguided" attempt to put pressure on the EU, Ireland's foreign minister has warned.

    Simon Coveney travelled to Paris to meet his French counterparts yesterday as he needed to discuss no-deal preparations in person, The Irish Times reports.

    If there is no deal, "the British government is saying they will reintroduce the elements of the Internal Market Bill which the House of Lords rejected and took out of the Bill," Mr Coveney said.

    The Bill would give ministers the power to ignore elements of the withdrawal text, something which the foreign minister describes as a "breach of trust and faith".

    "I think that this is as much a negotiating strategy as it is anything else... Some strategist seems to believe that this is going to pile more pressure on the EU and that it creates negotiating currency for the UK.

    "I think it is misguided," Mr Coveney said.

  • ROLE OF ECJ IS 'MUCH BIGGER STICKING POINT', SAYS FORMER TORY LEADER

    The UK cannot accept the European Court of Justice as the final arbiter of any Brexit legal disputes, a former Tory party leader has said.

    Iain Duncan Smith said the role of the ECJ was a much "bigger sticking point" than fishing, which he described as "totemic".

    "The UK cannot accept that the European Court of Justice sits over this on things like state aid, on fishing, on various other areas about disputes on any agreement," he told the BBC.

    The former Tory leader wasn't overly confident that a deal could be agreed and said that "we seem to be inviting everyone in to discuss how you read the tea leaves".

    "We just have wait to drink the tea I think in due course."

  • ‘MAKE A DECISION’

    The European Union has told Britain that it’s time to make a decision on a Brexit trade deal after a snag in talks prompted London to say chances of a breakthrough were receding.

    With less than four weeks left until the United Kingdom finally exits the EU’s orbit on Dec. 31, both sides are asking each other to compromise on fishing, state aid and how to resolve any future disputes.

    PM Boris Johnson will have to decide whether the UK should make last-minute compromises to secure or deal, or walk away from the talks without an agreement.

    European Council President Charles Michel said this morning that the next few days would decide matters and the 27 EU leaders holding a virtual summit on Dec. 10-11 would take a position.

    “The real question is – Which political, economic, social project do they want for their own future?,” he said.

    “And this is a question for the British government and for the British people.”

  • BACKING BREXIT DEAL COULD BE POLITICALLY 'LETHAL', SAYS FORMER LABOUR LEADER

    Voting in favour of a Brexit deal could be "politically lethal" and Boris Johnson must be made to "own" the consequences, former Labour leader Neil Kinnock has warned.

    This latest intervention comes as opposition parties are mulling over whether they will vote alongside the Government in support of a Brexit trade agreement, if one returns to the Commons.

    Neil Kinnock warned on the Lords' WhatsApp group that: "If Labour supports the 'deal' all our future justified criticisms will be rebuffed 'because we voted for this!' and because it will be true, it will be lethal."

    The Guardian reported that the former Labour leader supported the view to abstain.

    "We must abstain and explain that this is the rational course when faced with a damaging 'yes' and a disastrous 'no'," Kinnock reportedly told colleagues.

  • BREXIT SET BACK FOR LEVELLING UP AGENDA, SAYS FORMER PM

    The Government's levelling-up agenda has been set back by three years by Britain's exit from the European Investment Bank, according to former prime minister Gordon Brown.

    Research showed that almost three out of four people were content to develop post-Brexit ways of co-operating with the EU.

    Mr Brown's Alliance for Full Employment said there was a need for a post-Brexit joint venture between the UK and the European Investment Bank.

    He said: "For years the European Investment Bank has been key to new investment in transport, housing and infrastructure in the regions.

    "Around 50 billion euros has been invested in the UK's regions and nations over the last decade. This investment is crucial if levelling up is to happen.

    "I welcome a new British investment bank, announced in the recent spending review, but it will take years to be as effective as the current EIB arrangements."

  • A DIFFERENCE OF OPINION ON THE CONTINENT?

  • UK SAYS EU TRADE TALKS AT TRICKY POINT AS HOPES OF DEAL DIM

    Britain's business minister said today that the UK.-EU trade talks are at a difficult point, as British officials poured cold water on hopes of an imminent breakthrough and France said it could veto any agreement it didn't like.

    UK. Business Secretary Alok Sharma said Britain was committed to reaching an agreement.

    But, of course, time is short and we are in a difficult phase. 

    “There's no denying that”, he told the BBC.

    “There are a number of tricky issues that still have to be resolved.”

    EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier, his British counterpart David Frost and their teams remained locked in talks in a London conference center Friday after a week of late-night sessions fueled by deliveries of sandwiches and pizza. 

    It was unclear whether negotiations would continue over the weekend

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