Wed. Dec 7th, 2022


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They WILL give in! EU set to compromise at 11th hour ‘but ONLY if Boris stands firm’

3 min read

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Alister Jack, Secretary of State for Scotland, stressed the EU had a reputation for agreeing to deals at the last minute but remained hopeful a deal could be secured before the December 31st deadline. Speaking at the Scottish Land and Estates Conference, Mr Jack told “We have to stick to and address the point of the timeframe, it’s only by sticking to the deadline that we’ve put in statute of 31st December that we will get a deal.

“If you keep kicking that date down the road, then there’s no imperative for everyone to come together and do a deal.

“If you look at the history of deals down with the EU, they tend to be done at the 59th minute of the 11th hour.

“We have to hold firm to our date in the hope that we get a deal.”

It comes as Michel Barnier, the European Union’s chief negotiator, agreed to ring-fence police and judicial cooperation from potential sanctions in the situation of any future trade rows with Britain.

Mr Barnier is locked in five days of talks with UK counterpart Lord Frost in London ahead of a mid-November deadline set by No10 to reach an agreement.

However, Mr Barnier made clear there were three keys to unlocking a deal: respectful enforcement mechanisms, guarantees of fair competition, and stable access to markets including fishing, which are the hurdles to achieving a deal.

Fishing contributed just 0.03 percent of British economic output in 2019, but many Brexit supporters see it as a symbol of the regained sovereignty they say leaving the EU brings.

Combined with fish and shellfish processing, the sector makes up 0.1 percent of Britain’s GDP.


Mr Jack, however, made clear the UK was prepared to walk away if no deal was achieved, stressing: “If we don’t get a deal, we will be in the position of Australia.

“We will proceed on that basis, the Prime Minister has stated it many times.”

He said: “We must not let coronavirus deflect from maximising the real opportunity which lay ahead of us outside the EU.

“The UK wants to have a relationship with the EU that is based on friendly cooperation as sovereign equals and is centred on free trade.

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“At the end of the year, the process of transition to that relationship will be completed and we will have recovered our economic and political independence, we will control our money, laws, waters and trade.

“My own view is I believe it’s still possible that we will reach a deal that has a free trade agreement at its core.

“I think it will be very similar to those the EU has agreed with close partners around the world.”

Referring to the lack of a deal on fisheries and the level playing field, Mr Jack said: “But I have to level with you and say the obstacles of this, are the EU insistence on including a set of novel and unbalanced proposals.”

At the same time, Ireland Taoiseach Micheal Martin said the trade negotiations between the EU and the UK had “intensified” in the past week and were now at a “very crucial point”.

Mr Martin told the Dail said the negotiations need to “yield a sensible outcome” and the last thing the UK and Irish economies need is a “second seismic shock” caused by a no-deal Brexit.

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