Wednesday, 21 Oct 2020

No deal Brexit tracker: Will the UK reach a deal?

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The end of the transition period is creeping closer and closer – and the prospect of a no-deal Brexit is causing considerable anxiety among officials and ordinary people alike. The UK and the EU have been engaged in talks over the past nine months to try and find an ideal relationship for both sides once the UK fully leaves the bloc on December 31 this year.

The bloc and the UK have agreed to intensify talks over the coming weeks after recent talks have failed to find a compromise between the two powers.

But now, the chances of reaching a deal and avoiding a no-deal Brexit is really coming down to the wire as Boris Johnson’s October 15 deadline creeps closer.

The EU summit will take place on October 15, and is the final date for an agreement between negotiators according to the Prime Minister.

The EU has signaled they will agree to stretch talks into November should no agreement be found – but are not planning on making on concessions within the current round of talks.

Will the UK reach a deal with the EU?

There is still no breakthrough on the major sticking points: the level playing field guarantees, fishing rights and the enforcement and dispute resolution system for the future trading relationship.

Leaked EU documents said that there was “no significant progress” in the talks and the European Commission would “shortly” bring in no-deal legislation.

However, the two sides are reportedly close to clinching an agreement on social security rights, it emerged on Tuesday.

Brussels have accepted nine out of ten of the UK’s proposals to protect rights such as death grants and benefits for accidents at work.

EU diplomats have also revealed their anger at the Prime Minister for not being more involved in the talks, lamenting the fact that Mr Johnson has left such important matters to David Frost, the UK’s chief negotiator.

Senior figures in Brussels have complained the PM is completely detached from the talks, meaning it’s impossible for capitals to get involved in a high-level political compromise.

A senior EU diplomat said: “If things stay as they are, what can we do other than tell Michel Barnier good luck, carry on, we hope you get there.

“The chances of there being a deal are becoming less and less by the day, that’s clear. It’s time for EU leaders to step in.

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“But one reason why our leaders can’t do much is because Boris Johnson hasn’t been engaging.

“What does it say to 27 leaders when an issue as important as this is only dealt with by David Frost?

“It’s about time higher up in the hierarchy people start involving themselves if they want to achieve something.”

Despite the uncertain prospects of Britain’s life post-transition period, the Prime Minister has signaled his optimism in recent days.

Speaking at the Conservative party Conference, which was held virtually over the weekend, he said: “I believe you will see a Britain that is more united than for decades in its constitutional settlement.

“Where Brexit has delivered a new excitement and verve, not just free trade and free ports, but control over our fisheries, and the ability to do things differently and better, from innovation in tech and data and finance to improving our standards of our animal welfare.

“Yes, you will see a country that scrupulously controls its own borders, but which is in some ways more cosmopolitan than ever before, welcoming scientists and artists and people of talent from around the world.

“That is the Britain we can build – in its way, and with all due respect to everywhere else, the greatest place on earth. Indeed, that is the country and the society we are in the process of building.”

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