The British and European Union negotiating teams have agreed to push back the latest in a long line of “final” deadlines for a Brexit deal to be done yet again, with both European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and British prime minister Boris Johnson pledging to “go the extra mile”.
“As things stand, and this was basically what Ursula and I agreed, we are still very far apart on some key things,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Sky News.
“But where there is life there is hope. The UK certainly won’t be walking away from talks, I think people would expect us to go the extra mile,” he said — although some will question whether people would rather he had drawn a line under the talks in the summer, when the first “final” deadline for an agreement expired, as this would have allowed for much more clarity and much more planning time for businesses, expatriates, and others for a clean break with the European Union.
At present, it seems people will have mere days to prepare for whatever form of Brexit ultimately comes about at the end of 2020, with little knowledge of what support will become available — and indeed what opportunities may arise.
Once again the can has been kicked down the road. https://t.co/g6KancBTNN
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) December 13, 2020
Prime Minister Johnson said he had offered, once again, to directly to foreign capitals for face-to-face talks with European government leaders — France’s Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Angela Merkel are regarded as the key players in the bloc — but was, once again, rejected, with the unelected bureaucrats of the European Commission retaining their jurisdiction over the talks.
“I repeated my offer. If it’s necessary to talk to other capitals then I’m very happy to do that. The Commission is very determined to keep the negotiations on the way that they’ve been done between us and the Commission,” he said, perhaps hinting at some frustration with so-called eurocracy.
“The UK should continue to try. I think that’s what the people of this country want me to do. We are going to continue to try and we’re going to try with all our hearts. We’ll be as creative as we possibly can. We remain willing to talk and continue to do so. In the meantime lets get ready for the WTO [World Trade Organization] option,” Johnson insisted, while conceding that ‘no deal’ is is “the most likely thing now”.
The issues dividing London and Brussels are, primarily, the same as they have been since at least 2017, namely the EU’s demands that free trade in goods and services be tied to continued EU control over Britain’s territorial waters — the EU currently assigns the the lion’s share of Britain’s fishing stocks to other member-states — and continued British submission to EU regulations, as interpreted by the EU courts.
EU Supertrawlers Ravage British Waters Ahead of Brexit, Kill Dolphins, Porpoises, Seals https://t.co/89Vnn06XZm
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) December 13, 2020