Brexit news latest – EU to DOUBLE DOWN on no-deal prep as hopes of Boris and Barnier meeting trade deadline dwindle

THE EU will double down on it's no-deal Brexit preparation as hopes of a trade deal dwindle.

In order to have a UK-EU trade deal fully ratified and in place by the end of the transition period on December 31, an agreement will need to be reached in the coming days.

But a couple of key sticking points remain – especially around fishing rights – meaning no deal is likely to be done unless one side decides to budge.

As a result, several key EU governments – including the Netherlands, France and Belgium – will demand that plans for no-deal are published immediately, claiming European businesses need to prepare for what they say increasingly seems like a likely scenario.

“We must now come up with contingency measures. January 1, 2021 is getting close; we need a safety net,” a senior EU diplomat told The Times.

“Of course, this sends out a political signal. But it is high time to prepare people and businesses in case we cannot fix an agreement in time. I know member states will ask to get contingency measures out into the open.”

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  • Chiara Fiorillo


    The Brexit transition period is finishing on December 31.

    After that, new rules will apply, with some requirements subject to ongoing negotiations between the UK and EU.

  • Chiara Fiorillo


    European diplomatic sources said an agreement could be finalised as early as Monday next week.

    They also added that Michel Barnier would brief EU ambassadors on progress tomorrow or at the weekend if a deal were close.

  • John Hall


    A senior EU diplomat told The Times it is now time to prepare people and businesses in case an agreement cannot be made in time.

    They said: “We must now come up with contingency measures.

    “January 1, 2021 is getting close; we need a safety net.”

  • John Hall


    European leaders are set to demand that the European Commission publish no-deal plans so that businesses can prepare if a deal is not found.

    The news came few days after EU diplomats warned Britain that time was fast running out for a Brexit deal, and that it may already be too late to ratify one.

  • John Hall


    London stocks fell today because of economy fears due to a stalemate over a post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union and surging coronavirus infections.

    The domestically focused mid-cap FTSE 250, considered a barometer for Brexit sentiment, lost 0.5%.

    It happened after a report said Europe's leaders are set to demand no-deal plans amid fears that trade negotiations are dragging.

  • John Hall


    Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said Britain was not growing its military budget at the expense of international aid, amid media reports that billions of pounds could be cut from the foreign aid budget.

    He said: “It doesn't mean to say we are abandoning the battlefield of international aid, we're still one of the most generous givers of international aid.”

  • John Hall


    In a speech to parliament today, Boris Johnson will announce an extra £16.5 billion for the military over the next four years.

    The defence budget is currently just under £42 billion per year.

    He said in a statement: “I have taken this decision in the teeth of the pandemic because the defence of the realm must come first.

    “The international situation is more perilous and more intensely competitive than at any time since the Cold War and Britain must be true to our history and stand alongside our allies.

    “To achieve this, we need to upgrade our capabilities across the board.”

  • John Hall


    Britain pledged to end the “era of retreat” by announcing the biggest military investment since the end of the Cold War.

    The measure comes as the country seeks to define its post-Brexit role on the world stage.

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants to carve out a leading role for Britain in a new era of global cooperation and free trade, backed by modern military and cyber capabilities.

  • John Hall


    Brussels sources said to expect “strong words” from a slew of leaders after today's video summit warning it's time to brace for No Deal. 

    A senior EU diplomat said: “Of course this sends out a political signal. This is a sign that we are really going to prepare.”

    Another diplomatic source added the two sides are “nowhere near” agreeing on fish and recent talks have “gone backwards” on agreeing common standards. 

  • John Hall


    Chippies face a major fish shortage unless the UK secures a Brexit deal with Greenland.

    Some 2,000 UK jobs could go if supply lines to top quality Arctic fish are disrupted.

    Andrew Crook, of the National Federation of Fish Friers, said a deal with Greenland was vital to stop other countries “having us over a barrel on prices”.

    He added: “The British fleet cannot be expected to catch all the fish we need.

    “Greenland’s fish is a premium product and supplies some ten per cent of fish to the south of England. We must not let a deal slip through the net.”

  • John Hall


    European leaders will order up a raft of new emergency No Deal plans today after Emmanuel Macron vowed to defy No 10 over fishing. 

    The bloc's 27 capitals are set to throw down the gauntlet to Boris Johnson and take a hard line in the hope of shocking him into late concessions. 

    And with negotiations stalled France is sticking to its guns over demands for access to UK waters that is almost as generous as it enjoys now.

    With talks heading down to the wire, gloomy diplomatic sources said there was “no reason for optimism” with the two sides “still quite far apart”. 

    They added negotiations can only continue for a few more days into the middle of next week before “time will get the better of us”. 

    EU Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said today there was one “final push” to try and hammer out a deal.

  • John Hall


    Britain could seal a bumper trade deal with Australia by Christmas if Boris Johnson doesn't let his green agenda scupper it, ex-Aussie PM Tony Abbott has warned.

    Mr Abbott, a trade envoy for the UK, said today both the UK and Australian negotiators are “eager” to ink an agreement by the end of the year.

    But the ex-Aussie PM, who has been heavily criticised for his beliefs on climate change, warned Mr Johnson not to “sweat the small stuff” like environmental commitments.

    Mr Abbott told the International Trade Committee: “Our job is to try to get the best possible deals as quickly as we can with Australia, Canada and the United States.

    “I know that on both sides there is an eagerness to try and get the Australian deal done before Christmas.”

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