Negotiators from the EU and the United Kingdom are currently continuing post-Brexit negotiations in Brussels, in what appears to be the last possible stretch towards a possible agreement on future EU-UK relations.
Despite the fact that all deadlines previously envisaged have been missed, the European Commission has said it continues to believe in a deal.
“With the European Parliament and all member states, we remain determined, patient, respectful,” tweeted Michel Barnier, chief Brexit negotiator for the EU, on Monday.
“We want our future cooperation to be open but fair in all areas,” he added.
“We are working to get a deal,” UK negotiator David Frost confirmed on Twitter, “but the only one that’s possible is one that is compatible with our sovereignty and takes back control of our laws, our trade, and our waters. That has been our consistent position from the start and I will not be changing it,” he said.
“There has been some progress in a positive direction in recent days,” Frost tweeted. “We also now largely have common draft treaty texts, though significant elements are of course not yet agreed.”
“We will work to build on these and get an overall agreement if we can,” he added, while warning that “we may not succeed.”
Key talking points that remain to be agreed on include fisheries, as well as the conditions supposed to ensure fair competition between companies on both sides and “governance”, which is to say the management of possible future disagreements.
If there is no agreement ratified on time, trade between London and Brussels will be based on WTO rules from the beginning of January, with customs controls and taxes. This would be an additional economic blow on both sides, in the midst of the economic slump caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Brussels Times