Brexit news latest – EU warns ‘time running out’ for exit deal with under 100 days until the end of year

THE EU has warned that "time is running out" for an exit deal with Boris Johnson to lead last ditch Brexit deal talks with Brussels today.

The Prime Minister confirmed he would be meeting with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen where both sides "will ‘take stock and discuss next steps".

The eleventh-hour attempt to find common ground on a trade and security deals is being seen as a positive move in Brussels, providing a gateway to further rounds of negotiation.

Both the UK’s chief negotiator David Frost and his EU counterpart Michel Barnier have said an agreement must be reached this month for a deal to be in place by the time the transition period ends on December 31.

Follow our Brexit live blog for all the latest news and updates…

  • Abe Hawken

    BREXIT SUB PLOT

    Britain and Brussels will next week begin two weeks of intense secret trade talks dubbed “Le Submarine” after a major breakthrough.

    Boris Johnson is to virtually meet EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen tomorrow to hammer out terms for the negotiations after both sides gave concessions on fishing and red tape.

    It comes after the UK offered a three-year transition on EU access to our waters.

    Brussels is said to have eased some of its “more outrageous demands” on binding the UK to post-Brexit rules on state aid.

    <a href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/12834346/britain-brussels-brexit-trade-talks-submarine/“>

  • Jon Rogers

    JOHNSON TO SET FISHING ULTIMATUM AT EU TALKS

    Boris Johnson is poised to set a fishing ultimatum with the EU, hoping that the increasingly isolated French President Emmanuel Macron caves in.

    Johnson is due to meet with the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, on Saturday afternoon in a video-conference call to “take stock of negotiations and discuss next steps”.

    Von der Leyen said on Friday that most contentious issues, such as fisheries and the control of domestic subsidies, remained “completely open”.

  • Samantha Lock

    Downing Street made clear Mr Johnson still believed there needed to be a deal by the time of the next EU summit in two weeks' time on October 15, otherwise it will be too late to implement before the transition ends.

    But despite his bullish comments, the UK's chief negotiator Lord Frost was more downbeat, saying that while the “outlines” of an agreement were “visible”, there were still “familiar differences” to be overcome.

    Following his latest meeting with EU counterpart Michel Barnier, he said there had been “some limited progress” on state aid while the gap over fisheries was “unfortunately very large” and may prove “impossible to bridge”.

    “These issues are fundamental to our future status as an independent country,” he said in a statement.

    “I am concerned that there is very little time now to resolve these issues ahead of the European Council on October 15.”

  • Samantha Lock

    IRISH TAOISEACH SAYS AGREEMENT 'HIGHLY UNLIKELY'

    Irish Taoiseach Micheal Martin, who briefed other EU leaders with Mrs von der Leyen on the state of the negotiations, said it was “highly unlikely” there would be an agreement by October 15.

    He said there would need to be significant progress in the coming weeks.

    “Certainly by the end of the month, the beginning of next month, there would have to be some clear pathway to an agreement in order to facilitate all the work that will then be necessary to get a deal over the line,” he said.

    He added: “There is a sense whilst there is a mood to engage, no-one is underestimating the task that lies ahead.”

  • Samantha Lock

    'TIME RUNNING OUT'

    The head of the EU's executive, Ursula von der Leyen, has said she believes a deal was still possible but warned that time was running out.

    Speaking at a news conference in the Belgian capital, Mrs von der Leyen said the “most difficult issues” – including fisheries and state aid rules – still had to be resolved if they were to get an agreement in place by the end of the Brexit transition period at the end of the year.

    “It is good to have a deal – but not at any price,” she said.

    “We have made progress on many, many different fields but of course the most difficult ones are still completely open.

    “But overall, where there is a will, there is a way, so I think we should intensify the negotiations because it is worth working hard on it.

    “We are running out of time – around 100 days to the end of the year – so it is worth stepping up now.”

  • Samantha Lock

    'WHERE THERE'S A WILL, THERE'S A WAY'

    Johnson will speak to the head of the EU's executive, Ursula von der Leyen, on Saturday to agree next steps after the bloc launched a legal case against Britain over moving to undercut their Brexit divorce treaty.

    Speaking after the summit on Friday, von der Leyen said it was time to “intensify” Brexit talks with time available by the end of the year to put a new deal in place running out.

    “Where there's a will, there's a way,” she said.

    “We have made progress on many, many difficult fields but the main ones all remain very much open,” she added, naming guarantees on a level playing field of fair competition as a key sticking point. “There is still a lot of work to do.”

  • Samantha Lock

    PM URGES EU TO BE 'COMMON-SENSICAL'

    Boris Johnson has urged the European Union to be “common-sensical”, insisting that a post-Brexit trade deal was within grasp.

    Following the final scheduled round of formal negotiations in Brussels, the Prime Minister will take stock of progress in a conference call with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen on Saturday.

    Ahead of their talks, Mr Johnson said there was “every chance” that an agreement could be reached while Mrs von der Leyen said it was time to “intensify” the negotiations.

    The announcement of the video conference between the two leaders prompted speculation they could be preparing to launch a final series of intensive talks – dubbed “the tunnel” – in a last push for an agreement.

    In a series of regional broadcast interviews, Mr Johnson told BBC Midlands there was “every chance to get a deal”, adding: “It's up to our friends and partners to be common-sensical.”

    Speaking to BBC Northern Ireland, he added: “They've done a deal with Canada of a kind that we want, why shouldn't they do it with us? We're so near, we've been members for 45 years. It's all there, it's just up to them.”

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    STERLING OPENS HIGHER AS UK, EU CONTINUE BREXIT TALKS

    Sterling rose on Friday, after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she had no breakthrough to announce from EU talks with Britain but remained optimistic that a deal on their post-Brexit trade relationship was still possible before year-end.

    Both British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the European Union have set a mid-October goal for reaching a trade agreement, but the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier suggested talks would continue up until the end of the month.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    LATEST FROM FROST

    Britain's Brexit negotiator Lord Frost has said the “outlines” of a free trade agreement with the EU are now “visible” but that “familiar differences” remain.

    Following the conclusion of the final scheduled round of formal negotiations in Brussels, he said there had been “some limited progress” on the issue of state aid but that the EU needed to “move further” if there was to be an agreement.

    “On fisheries the gap between us is unfortunately very large and, without further realism and flexibility from the EU, risks being impossible to bridge.

    These issues are fundamental to our future status as an independent country,” he said in a statement.

    “I am concerned that there is very little time now to resolve these issues ahead of the European Council on October 15.”

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    UK NEGOTIATOR CONFIRMS CONCERN OVER TIME TO RESOLVE

    UK Chief Negotiator Frost says he is concerned there is very little time to resolve issues in EU talks.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    CONTINUED

    Outlining where the issues remain in the trade talks, Mr Barnier said the EU needed “solid, long-term guarantees of open and fair competition” when it came to state aid.

    He said: “Our new economic partnership must be underpinned by clear rules. These rules must be operational and credible.

    “That requires effective enforcement mechanisms, in particular on state aid, and a commitment towards non-regression from social, fiscal, environmental and climate standards.”

    Mr Barnier said an “efficient governance framework” along with “effective remedies” for disputes was “even more important” following the UK Government's decision to pass the Internal Market Bill which “breaches its obligations under the Withdrawal Agreement and the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland”.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    THREE KEY AREAS REMAIN FOR AGREEMENT NEEDS SAYS BARNIER

    The European Union's chief negotiator Michel Barnier said there remains three key areas where agreement needs to be found to strike a post-Brexit trade deal with the UK.

    The pair are still at odds over fisheries, governance and state aid, he said.

    In a statement after the final scheduled round of talks in Brussels, Mr Barnier said: “To reach an agreement, these divergences must necessarily be overcome over the next weeks.

    “We will continue to maintain a calm and respectful attitude, and we will remain united and determined until the end of these negotiations.”

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    EU CHIEF CALLS FOR TRADE TALKS WITH UK TO 'INTENSIFY'

    European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has called for trade talks with the UK to “intensify” as she prepared to take stock of progress with Boris Johnson.

    The two leaders are to speak on Saturday to discuss the “next steps” following the conclusion of the final scheduled round of formal negotiations on a post-Brexit trade deal in Brussels.

    The announcement of the video conference call prompted speculation that they could be preparing to launch a final series of intensive talks – dubbed “the tunnel” – in a last push for an agreement.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    WALMART TO SELL UK CHAIN ASDA IN £6.8BILLION

    Retail giant Walmart has agreed to sell its British chain of supermarkets, Asda, to the investors behind an international group of gas stations and food shops in a deal that values the company at 6.8 billion pounds.

    Brothers Mohsin and Zuber Issa, along with investors TDR Capital will acquire a majority of Asda, while Walmart will retain a minority stake and a seat of the board, the parties said in a joint statement issued Friday.

    Details of the deal weren't released. Walmart has owned Asda since 1999 but had been looking for a buyer recently to focus on higher-growth markets.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    UK, EU LEADERS TO DISCUSS BREXIT, FREE TRADE TALKS

    The European Union said Friday the main issues separating the bloc and Britain in their fraught talks on a rudimentary trade agreement following the Brexit divorce are still completely open” and called for intensified negotiations over the next couple of weeks.

    European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will have a video conference Saturday to chart the way forward, but the EU leader relied more on hope and perseverance than rational analysis that a deal could still be struck.

    Where there is a will, there is a way,” she said in an assessment of the state of play two weeks before an EU summit to specifically address the post-Brexit trade issue.

    We should not forget that we have made progress on many, many different fields. But, of course, the most difficult ones are still completely open,” von der Leyen said.

  • Debbie White

    EU TRADE CHIEF SEES EASIER US TIES WITH BIDEN THAN TRUMP

    The EU's trade relations with America would likely be easier if Democratic challenger Joe Biden won November's presidential election rather than Donald Trump, European Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis said today.

    The bloc still faces US tariffs on its steel and aluminium and is in dispute with Washington over aircraft subsidies and EU plans to tax digital services companies.

    The two sides also have differing view on the value of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

    Dombrovskis said: “Probably under a new administration it would be easier because we know that the Trump administration is unfortunately supporting this unilateral action in areas of trade which is creating lots of tensions and lots of problems.”

    On aircraft subsidies, Dombrovskis said that, in the absence of an agreement, the EU would impose tariffs related to Boeing once the WTO decides on the size of damages.

  • Debbie White

    WHY IS UK PUSHING DIVORCE DEAL CHANGES?

    The UK says it must break the Brexit divorce deal provisions to allow England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to trade freely with each other if there is no post-Brexit trade deal with the EU.

    But some fear that change risks re-erecting a border on the island of Ireland and undermining a 1998 peace accord which mostly ended three decades of sectarian conflict.

    US special envoy for Northern Ireland Mick Mulvaney said in London that the message he would take back to Washington was that all sides were committed to avoiding that happening.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    JPMORGAN SAYS NARROW BREXIT TRADE DEAL LIKELY

    JPMorgan said on Friday it continued to think that a Brexit trade deal was more likely than not, though the substance of any deal would be narrow and come with a cost for the United Kingdom.

    “We continue to think … that a deal looks more likely than not,” JPMorgan analyst Malcolm Barr said in a note to clients.

    “The cost of regulatory autonomy for the UK in terms of lost or more difficult access to EU markets looks set to be a high one.”

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    NO BREAKTHROUGH, BUT BREXIT DEAL STILL POSSIBLE, MERKEL SAYS

    Signs that Britain might be going back on the withdrawal agreement on the terms of its departure from the European Union are “bitter” but there is still scope for an agreement to be reached on future ties, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.

    “I can't announce a breakthrough,” she said.

    “As long as negotiations on Brexit are ongoing, I'm optimistic.”

    She added that much would ride on what Britain wanted from a deal.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    CITIZENS' ASSEMBLY TO AGREE 'SHARED VISION' FOR SCOTLAND'S FUTURE

    Scotland's first Citizens' Assembly will meet on Saturday to agree “a shared vision of our country's future”.

    The group of 100 broadly representative Scots have been meeting through the year to discuss some of the major constitutional issues facing Scotland.

    Members have been asked to consider three questions, the first of which is: “What kind of country are we seeking to build?”

    The assembly will meet online on Saturday to develop the vision for the future, having examined issues such as finances and taxation, and discussed how decisions are taken for and about Scotland.

    A report of the meeting setting out the agreed vision will be published on October 9.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    CONTINUED

    But it came after figures yesterday revealed 3.6 million youngsters were not in work.

    PM Boris Johnson yesterday outlined his vision for reversing Covid job losses with plans to train an army of sparkies and lab technicians.

    He also said he would offer free, fully funded A-level equivalent college courses.

    And he laid into overpriced uni courses that left graduates saddled with debt and stuck in dead-end jobs.

    But MigrationWatch UK blasted the MAC’s proposals. The think tank said: “Perhaps the left hand does not know what its right hand is doing. With one hand they are offering free courses for young British workers without an A-level.

    More on the story here.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    BRICKING IT

    Britain is so short of bricklayers, butchers and welders that immigration rules must be relaxed again, advisers say.

    Senior care workers and nursing assistants should also be added to the list, says the Migration Advisory Committee.

    It said it had found “clear evidence of staff and skills shortages which could be filled by overseas workers”.

    The MAC said its proposals would relieve pressure when freedom of movement ends on December 31.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    EU NEED TO KNOW

    With all the uncertainty creat­ed by the coronavirus pandemic over the last few months, many travellers could be forgiven for not having thought about the impact of Brexit.

    But come January 1, there are a raft of changes that any Brit travelling to Europe MUST consider.

    During this year’s transition period, nothing has changed but things will be very different when we officially leave and it pays to be prepared as we exit the EU’s single market and free-movement zone.

    And with the big break just months away, today we look at everything to check if heading to any EU country next year.

    More on the story here.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    U.S SPECIAL ENVOY SAYS MESSAGE FROM BRITAIN, EU IS NO RETURN TO HARD BORDER IN IRELAND

    U.S. special envoy for Northern Ireland Mick Mulvaney said on Friday he would take back to Washington Britain's and Ireland's commitment there would be no return to a hard border on the island of Ireland because of Brexit.

    “One of the messages I will take back is ok, there's still a lot to be worked out but the British are working to make sure there's not a hard border, the Irish are working to make sure there is not a hard border, and the Europeans are working to make sure there is not a hard border,” he said.

    That message was welcome, he told British think tank Policy Exchange.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    FROM EARLIER THIS WEEK – FEELS FISHY

    Brussels have proposed intensive secret trade negotiations called “Le Submarine” – but Brits fear a trap on fishing.

    The super secret talks would allow both sides to hammer a trade deal with the EU over the line without the constant public sniping that has dominated so far.

    But UK negotiators are weary Brussels are trying to bounce Britain into last minute concessions or face being blamed for the “submarine talks” sinking. 

    One UK source said “obviously we are ready to up the pace but people are getting too over excited – there still is a long way to go and fish remains very tricky.”

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