Sat. Dec 10th, 2022


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Brexit timeline: What now? Full breakdown of the next two weeks before 2020 deadline

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The UK wants a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU, as both sides recognise making a deal which be much more mutually beneficial than to not. Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned although a deal was the favourable approach, the country would not do one “at any cost”, adding that talks are still “most likely” to end in a no-deal scenario. Mr Johnson provided a gloomy forecast following a dinner in Brussels with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and Brexit negotiators Lord David Frost and Michel Barnier.

Throughout the negotiations, the key obstacles have always remained the same.

The EU wants access to British fishing waters, but as the UK sees the territory as key to reinstating its sovereignty, it’s not willing to budge on the matter.

Another key difference remains the “level playing ground” when it comes to business competition, namely how far the UK is allowed to stray from Europe’s standards.

Talks between both sides were extended past Sunday after Mr Johnson and Mrs Von der Leyen agreed enough progress had been made to do so.

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So what happens now?

The EU and UK are expected to keep negotiating over the next two weeks until the very end of the transition period on New Year’s Eve.

The set of talks in the coming weeks are understood to be concentrating on the extent to which the UK should be free to move away from Brussels’ standards and regulations.

The Union is believed to be prepared to accept the UK’s divergence at this point, as long as protectionary measures are in place to prevent what the bloc sees as unfair competition.

The UK Government has repeatedly insisted it wants the power to set its own rules, especially as sovereignty is one of the most important factors for Brexiteers and euro-sceptics.

Mrs Von der Leyen said Britain “either has to play by our rules, because this is a matter of fairness for our companies… or the other choice is there is a price on it, and the price is border and tariffs”.

If the two sides can’t strike a deal by the end of the month, the UK and EU will trade on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms going forward.

Under WTO rules, the two would be free to impose taxes and tariffs on imports and exports in both directions, a problem which would be avoided with a Free Trade Deal (FTA).

In a cabinet meeting this week, the Prime Minister said ending talks on WTO terms, in what he described as an Australia-style deal, “remained the most likely outcome”.

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Mr Johnson did, however, stress he was “committed to continuing to negotiate” with Brussels on the remaining areas of disagreement.

In addition, the introduction of the controversial Internal Market Bill has proved to be a speed bump in the process for the Government.

After a lengthy back-and-forth between the House of Commons and the House of Lords, a compromise has been reached on the bill.

This is one of the Government’s biggest pieces of Brexit legislation, aiming to ensure goods can be traded within the UK in spite of differing standards between nations.

The House of Lords has been insisting on greater flexibility for devolved Governments in the UK to vary goods standards and requirements for professional qualifications.

Following defeats in the House of Lords on the issue, Government ministers agreed to allow some variation, leading to the bill being approved without a vote.

The legislation will now go back to the House of Commons in which it’s likely to get the green light from MPs.

Another defeat was suffered in the Lords when peers voted to amend the Trade Bill in an effort to ensure Parliament would have more powers of scrutiny in post-Brexit trade deals.

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