Britain and European Union scramble to reach Brexit deal before Christmas

LONDON – Britain and the European Union appeared in Brussels on Wednesday with negotiators with a resounding post-Brexit trade agreement, but one person briefed on the talks, resolving the final issues.

On Christmas Eve, an announcement appears imminent, which will take place exactly one week before the December 31 deadline for Britain and the European Union to negotiate a long-term trade arrangement.

A spokesman for the European Commission, Eric Mammer, posted on Twitter after midnight that work on the agreement would “continue overnight,” adding that “hopefully,” it would be “early tomorrow morning”.

Negotiators are scrambling to finish their talk before Christmas to avoid the danger that the deal cannot be adopted in time for January. 1. Without a deal, Britain and the European Union will default in doing business under WTO rules, levying duties on each other’s goods.

Trade on the English Channel can cause severe disruption, at a time when trade and travel between Britain and the continent has already been disrupted due to fear. A fast-spreading type of coronavirus, Which emerged in Britain and led European countries to impose travel restrictions against the United Kingdom.

There are rumors that a deal had begun in London and Brussels on Wednesday afternoon, but neither the European Commission nor 10 Downing Street confirmed it or issued an update on the negotiations.

How the deal is rolled out is sensitive for both sides as it involves extraordinary bets. Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be eager to present the deal as a fulfillment of his promise to claim Britain’s sovereignty. The European Union will be eager to show that it defended the integrity of the single market.

Most days of talks focused on gaining EU access to British fishing grounds.

During the 2016 referendum campaign on Brexit, Mr Johnson promised fishermen that if Britain left the bloc, they would regain control of their national waters, which they had been using for decades as French and other European fishing crews Are shared with, in some cases, centuries.

But fishing in France is also resounding, not least for President Emanuel Macron, who faces elections in 2022. The French fleet relies on fishes caught in British waters. Under the current quota, for example, 84 percent of the cod caught in a zone off the English coast is allocated to France, while only 9 percent goes to Britain.

European negotiators inspired their fishing crews to push Britain forward to allow wider access to its waters. Negotiations began to set a transition period for that access and agreed to British demands, stating that British fishing parties hold a high percentage of the value of the overall catch.

The two sides are also forging a complex agreement on so-called level playing principles, designed to prevent British companies from enjoying more stringent environmental or labor laws through state aid or on their European rivals.

The talks, which began after Britain formally left the European Union in January, ended with significantly less notice for the last few weeks as they were eclipsed by the epidemic. In June, Mr Johnson offered an opportunity to expand the negotiations in 2021, and insisted that he was prepared to risk a no-deal Brexit.

Mr Johnson reiterated that message in recent times, stating that Britain would prosper “richly” without a deal. But as the deadline approached, he involved himself in the conversation, Two weeks before the flight to Brussels for dinner with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.

Mr Johnson said he was keen to join Germany’s Mr Macron and Chancellor Angela Merkel directly, but the European Commission has taken control of the negotiations, which are being run by Michel Barnier.

For Mr. Johnson, a deal would enable him to fulfill his promise. But the nature of the deal will be crucial for pro-Brexit MPs in their Conservative Party, who will examine the details for evidence that Britain surrendered its sovereignty to European negotiators.

Striking an agreement so late, however, means that the British Parliament will have little time to study it before voting on it. The timing is such that the European Parliament will be asked to allow it to be implemented tentatively on January 1, before it can consider the agreement in the month.

The French government decided to hold off on freight for two days due to fears over a new strain of the virus, but any deal that resembles brackets could be done. It also raised tensions with France, as well as British tabloids targeting a familiar target.

“Bubbles in Kick”, called a headline in The Sun, suggesting that France was conspiring to ruin the Christmas holiday for people in Britain. “Mancier Roadblock Gives Way,” Mr. Macron called a headline in the Daily Mail after agreeing to lift the ban subject to a virus testing program for truck drivers.

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