Brexit deal deadline: EU’s final chance of deal – When is Boris Johnson deadline?
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October 15 is deadline day for Boris Johnson – back in September he declared if there was no agreement by the time leaders met in Brussels for the EU summit then he did not believe a deal would be possible at all – saying that “both sides should “accept that and move on.” That day has now come. So what now?
As it stands, there is no agreement between the sides.
Recent talks have proved more fruitful than others, with agreements reached on
Tentative signs on a fishing deal are now beginning to emerge, one of the main sticking points throughout negotiations in the transition period.
There is still no breakthrough on the major sticking points, such as the level playing field guarantees and the enforcement and dispute resolution system for the future trading relationship.
Leaked EU documents from talks held earlier this month said that there was “no significant progress” in the talks and the European Commission would “shortly” bring in no-deal legislation.
EU diplomats also revealed their anger earlier in October 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.
“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.”
Will Boris create a new deadline?
Mr Johnson will likely be advised by his chief negotiator that a trade deal with the EU could still be made if the PM folds on his deadline.
Downing Street will also be looking for confirmation from Ursula von der Leyen, EU Commission president, and other leaders that negotiators should make headway on writing the joint legal text.
It’s unlikely that Mr Johnson would ignore a plea from David Frost, the UK’s chief negotiator, making an extension a reasonable scenario.
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Leaders on the EU’s side have also been keen to keep the ball rolling, with France’s foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, even suggested this week that the next EU summit, on November 15, could be the next target date for an agreement.
A UK Government spokesman said: “There are still differences, with fisheries being the starkest.
“We need to get substance settled and not having a common text to work from has made progress doubly difficult.
“The Prime Minister’s September 7 statement was very clear about the significance of October 15.
“He will need to take a decision on next steps following the European council in the light of his conversation with President Von der Leyen, and on advice from his negotiating team. We cannot prejudge that decision.”
What are the outstanding issues?
Fishing, which has been a sore spot for both sides throughout the negotiations, is now showing some signs of movement.
While France is insisting there is no margin for negotiation on the arrangements in the Channel, where French fishermen catch 84 percent of the cod quota, there appears to be more flexibility in the Celtic and Scottish seas.
But the EU would cut into the British quotas in European waters to make up for any losses.
The so-called ‘level playing field’, with which the EU wants in place to stop standards on trade being undercut or parts being overly subsidised.
State aid is still up for debate, although some progress has been made.
Downing Street appears willing to establish an independent regulator for state aid, which has been a key EU demand throughout talks.
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