Time is running out for Brexit trade deal, Britain and EU say
EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier (C) walks back to his hotel with his team as negotiations on a trade deal between the EU and the UK continue in London on November 28, 2020. (AFP photo)
As the United Kingdom and the European Union have failed to reach an agreement over trade, the two sides cautioned each other Monday that time was running out for a Brexit trade deal.
The deal, which will govern nearly $1 trillion in trade, is still up in the air as negotiators during the past three weeks have been unsuccessful over failure to agree on fishing, state aid and how to resolve any future disputes.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said a deal would be preferable but London would thrive without a deal when it goes it alone after 48 years of membership.
“We really are now running out of time. This is the crucial week — we need to get a breakthrough,” British Environment Secretary George Eustice told Sky.
He also went on to say that if good progress was made this week then talks could be extended.
The bloc delivered a similar message, with Ireland’s Brexit supremo, Foreign Minister Simon Coveney, saying, “We are running out of time here.”
Coveney added that “the truth of Brexit is now being exposed in terms of the challenges of it.”
On Sunday, talks between EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier and British chief negotiator David Frost continued, with British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab saying it was an important week for Brexit.
“David Frost had made clear that we’re continuing the negotiations because we still think there is a prospect that we can get an agreement and while there is we should persevere with those,” Eustice said.
Coveney also said this was a significant week, adding a deal could be struck if there was give and take on both sides.
However, he told Ireland’s Newstalk Radio that a failure to agree on fishing rights could jeopardize the chances of reaching a deal.
“If there isn’t an agreement on this, the whole thing could fall on the back of it and that’s the worry,” he said.
The United Kingdom finally leaves the bloc on Dec. 31 when a transition period of informal membership ends.
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