One Week to Agree a Deal? Brexit Talks go to the Wire

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier wearing a face mask because of the novel coronavirus pandemic walks to a conference centre to continue negotiations on a trade deal between the EU and the UK in London on November 11, 2020. - The European Union and Britain said major divergences remain but …
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Yet another Brexit deadline has been floated, this time by European negotiators who have called November 19th the absolute deadline for a draft Brexit deal.

Michel Barnier and his team of negotiators returned to London this week for yet another round of Brexit talks, parts of the final approach to Britain finally decoupling from the European Union. Although the UK officially departed the bloc in January 2020, it has remained a non-voting member of the Union in all but name since as part of the so-called transition period which expires at the end of the year.

While several Brexit deadlines have come and gone — the idea becoming less and less meaningful with many involved increasingly assuming that talks will run to the very moment Britain leaves the transition period, and probably beyond — the EU has named another. European Union leaders are due to meet by video conference on November 19th, and Brexit negotiators from Brussels say there has to be an agreement in principle in place by then for it to be ratified by those leaders.

Left-wing newspaper The Guardian reports a Brussels source who said of the November 19th date: “If there isn’t good news by then, then you really have to say that time is up – it just isn’t possible… The leaders will need to see that it is there.”

The content of the Brexit deal will decide whether, in essence, Britain will actually leave the European Union at the end of this year or if it will remain in perpetual limbo.

While both sides of the discussion want to keep trade flowing over the English Channel, the European Union insists this is a privilege that comes with certain costs, including Britain remaining tied to European courts, standards, and rules. Britain, for their part, points out that the European Union was happy to sign a trade deal of the kind wanted with London with Canada without any of those requirements.

Hopes of a deal by next Thursday aside, it remains a fact that the European Union’s demands are unacceptable to British Brexiteers. As Breitbart London reported on Monday, Barnier had arrived in London with a list of demands formulated in superficially gentle language, but which beneath the surface betrayed that it was business as usual.

There have been several deals dangled before British negotiators in recent months, all available as long as the nation abandons its red lines and agrees to continue to be — party, at least — governed by Brussels even after technically leaving the bloc. There have also been several so-called deadlines in the years since Britain voted to leave the European Union 1,602 days ago in 2016.

The latest such deadline was October 15th, which Boris Johnson had called a cutoff for talks. The date was disregarded at the last moment so talks could continue.

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