Wed. Dec 7th, 2022


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It’s now or NEVER: UK blasts EU ignoring ‘essence’ of Brexit as seven day blitz launched

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British officials are concerned the wrangling over the future relationship pact will go to the wire because the European Union still refuses to accept “the very essence of what Brexit is about”. The talks are now expected to be extended into next week ahead of a crunch summit of European leaders. EU insiders have claimed the video conference, scheduled for next week, is the final deadline to conclude any Brexit deal.

But it was revealed Michel Barnier was still unwilling to drop demands that could keep Britain tied to the bloc after Brexit.

And with both sides unable to break the deadlock, Ireland called for Brussels to “show some compromise to accommodate many British asks”.

UK sources close to the talks accused their EU counterparts of failing to understand the UK should be free to make its own rules and regulations after the post-Brexit transition period expires in December.

One Government insider said the EU was trying to punish Downing Street for wanting to free the country from the bloc’s demand for a regulatory “level-playing field”.

The source said: “We have a different view from the EU on what is appropriate on level playing field issues. 

“We have been clear that we can look at common principles for our different subsidy systems and perhaps even at the ability to act if a major subsidy genuinely distorts trade.

“What we can’t agree to are arrangements which would require us to operate systems of laws equivalent to the EU’s and make us pay a penalty if we moved away from them.

“We need policy space to decide what is in the UK’s interest in the future. That is the very essence of what Brexit is about.”

Senior European figures are now concerned failure to break the logjam could see the time run out for a Brexit deal to be completed.

Next Thursday’s leadership summit, arranged to discuss the latest developments in the coronavirus pandemic, is now seen as a crucial moment in the EU-UK talks.

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One EU diplomat said: “If there isn’t good news by 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.”

Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney today admitted any progress would be “unlikely this week” with Lord Frost and Mr Barnier expected to hold talks in London until the weekend.

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Speaking at a think-tank in Dublin, Mr Coveney said he hoped a Brexit deal can still be reached because the “no deal costs are pretty sobering”.

He added: “I think we may well be likely to go into next week on these negotiations. We’re not there yet. 

“What I would say is the UK Government understands only too well what is needed for an agreement here. I don’t believe the EU ask is unreasonable and the EU also needs to show some compromise to accommodate many British asks.”

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