Breaking News
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your experience. Save up to 40% More details

Brexit Negotiators Race to Reach Breakthrough as Time Runs Short

EconomyNov 03, 2020 01:09PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items

(Bloomberg) -- Brexit negotiators will begin a brief break on Wednesday, with time running out for both sides to reach a breakthrough over their biggest disagreements.

The U.K. and EU teams, which have been working round the clock in Brussels since last week, each plan to hold internal discussions before formal talks resume in London on Sunday.

The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, will brief ambassadors from the bloc’s 27 countries, most likely on Wednesday, while his opposite number, David Frost, is set to update Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Johnson is now unlikely to speak with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen this week, as had once been considered, but may do so at the end of next week if a final political push is needed to seal a deal, two people familiar with the discussions said.

Officials on both sides say an accord is in sight, and could be reached between Nov. 13 and Nov. 16 -- but they caution that the negotiations could still break down. While the two sides have made progress in recent days toward narrowing their differences over fishing, the level competitive playing field and how any deal will be enforced, they haven’t yet reached an accord.

Without one, millions of businesses and consumers will face the disruption and additional costs of tariffs and quotas when Britain leaves the EU’s single market on Dec. 31. Because any deal requires the approval of both the U.K. and European parliaments, it needs to be struck by mid-November if it is to be ready in time.

“There’s obviously a lot of work still to be done,” European Commission spokesman Daniel Ferrie told reporters in Brussels. “Negotiations are ongoing on all fronts.”

Concessions Made

Both sides have made concessions on the level playing field and have reached agreement on some areas, including the parameters of the U.K.’s future state aid policy, officials said. The biggest remaining conflict is over the EU’s push to include so-called ratchet clauses in any accord, something that would bind the U.K. to the EU’s standards as they evolve.

On fishing, the two sides are closer to a tentative compromise that would allow the U.K. to claim it has regained control of British waters -- but decisions about future quotas could be left to a later date. Officials stressed, however, it shouldn’t be called a breakthrough yet. France and other coastal states such as Belgium are pushing strongly for continued access to waters between six and 12 miles off Britain’s coast, something they enjoyed under an agreement that pre-dated Brexit.

Separately, the European Commission held off launching legal action immediately against the U.K. over Johnson’s plan to rewrite parts of the Brexit divorce deal, saying it is still considering its next move.

The bloc had given the U.K. until Oct. 31 to respond to its demand to withdraw parts of the Internal Market Bill that breach the Withdrawal Agreement Johnson struck with the EU last year. A Downing Street spokesman said on Tuesday the U.K. hadn’t replied to the request.

The legislation had threatened to sour relations between the U.K. and EU and put a trade deal between the two sides in jeopardy. But with talks over an accord progressing, people close to both sides of the negotiations have played down the threat. Each party sees the importance of securing a trade deal and, while the EU takes a breach seriously, officials in Brussels have welcomed the British government’s attempt to defuse the situation.

“We are committed to working through the joint committee process to find a satisfactory outcome for both sides,” Johnson’s spokesman, James Slack, told reporters on Tuesday. “That is our overriding priority.”

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

Brexit Negotiators Race to Reach Breakthrough as Time Runs Short

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Post also to:
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
Sign up with Email