Mon. Sep 26th, 2022


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BREXIT PLEA: Desperate Spanish PM says UK deal is ‘ESSENTIAL’ – ‘We need certainty’

3 min read

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In a desperate plea to Brexit negotiatiors, the Spanish leader said a deal is “essential” for his country’s economic stability at a moment of deep crisis. He said: “For Spain, a Brexit agreement is essential, not only because of the historical relations we have with the United Kingdom, but also because of the social and economic interests that we share.

“The government of Spain fully supports our EU negotiator Michel Barnier and we hope to reach an agreement that provides certainty and confidence in these tough COVID-19 times.

European Union leaders are meeting in Brussels on Thursday and Friday to pressure Britain for concessions in their troubled Brexit talks, saying a trillion euros worth of trade could be sunk if London does not budge on fisheries, fair competition and solving disputes.

Months of painstaking talks have narrowed the gaps on issues from energy ties to coordinating social benefits from 2021 when Britain’s standstill transition period after leaving the bloc ends.

But the three most contentious areas have barred a deal on a new partnership between the EU and Britain, with businesses and markets increasingly jittery about uncertain trading rules as the year-end deadline to put a deal in place nears.

Leaders want a fair deal with the United Kingdom on its post-Brexit relations with the bloc, but not at any price, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday.

“We want a deal, but obviously not at any price. It has to be a fair agreement that serves the interests of both sides.

This is worth every effort,” Merkel told reporters on her arrival for an EU summit in Brussels.

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday France was ready for a no-deal should Britain refuse to agree to conditions for a future relationship that would preserve French fishermen’s rights in British waters and non-dumping rules.

“In no case shall our fishermen be sacrificed for Brexit,” Macron told reporters as he arrived at a summit of EU leaders in Brussels.

“If these conditions are not met, it’s possible we won’t have a deal. If the right terms can’t be found at the end of these discussions, we’re ready for a no-deal for our future relations,” he added.

Italy’s’ Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte also said Italy wanted a fair trade deal with Britain but not at any cost.

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“We want a deal. We will work for this goal until the last minute,” Conte said before an EU summit in Brussels.

“But we need a fair deal,” he said, adding that Italy was not seeking a deal “at any cost”.

The 27 EU national leaders stepped up contingency plans for an abrupt economic split if no agreement emerges in time on trading with Britain without tariffs or quotas.

But, keen to avoid being assigned blame for an eventual chaotic split, the bloc also granted extra time for more talks.

A German government source said the bloc would “continue the negotiations for as long as possible” and added: “The European Union will not be the ones getting up from the table.”

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