Brexit is a vital second as EU and UK stay divided over commerce deal

By Man Faulconbridge, Gabriela Baczynska and John Chalmers

LONDON / BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Brexit commerce talks have been on maintain on Monday as Britain and the European Union tried as a final resort to shut necessary variations and strike a deal that may forestall a messy exit in simply 24 days.

As fears of a no-deal chaos elevated on December 31, when the UK lastly leaves the EU’s orbit, talks will resume in Brussels earlier than UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Fee President European Ursula von der Leyen did overview the state of affairs within the night.

Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin mentioned on Sunday the chances of a deal have been solely 50 to 50, whereas funding financial institution JPMorgan mentioned odds of exiting a no-trade deal had handed from 20% to a 3rd.

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier was “quite depressed concerning the prospects of a deal” throughout a gathering with nationwide envoys in Brussels on Monday, in line with a diplomat, including that Johnson ought to make the final name to an settlement.

“The ball is in BoJo (Johnson) courtroom,” the diplomat mentioned. “Variations persist on all three points.”

Updating EU envoys from 6.30am GMT, Barnier mentioned the three most contentious points within the negotiations stay unresolved, in line with the diplomat, who was attending the closed-door briefing.

For weeks, the 2 sides negotiated – thus far to no avail – over fishing rights in UK waters, guaranteeing honest competitors for companies and methods to resolve future disputes.


Failure to strike a deal would scold borders, spook monetary markets, and disrupt delicate provide chains that stretch throughout Europe and past, simply because the world tries to satisfy the huge financial price of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The British pound fell barely towards the greenback, softening the 2-1 / 2 yr highs of $ 1.3540 reached on Friday, though measures of anticipated fluctuations within the British pound reached eight-month highs.

Days earlier than a deal was struck, EU diplomats mentioned it was a watershed second for the UK and the bloc that turned the ruined nations of Europe right into a world energy after the devastation of World Conflict II.

“Decisive hours for the way forward for EU-UK relations,” mentioned Sebastian Fischer, EU spokesperson for Germany, the present holder of the EU Presidency.

Whereas some diplomats have mentioned the last-minute drama reveals a deal is finished, Eire, the EU economic system that can be hardest hit by a messy Brexit, mentioned it might not be shocked if the negotiations failed.

“I nonetheless suppose it is extra doubtless than not that we’ll discover a option to make a deal, however I will not be shocked if it collapses,” Irish Overseas Minister Simon Coveney mentioned as quoted. by the Irish Instances.

“If we do not come to an settlement within the subsequent few days, there’ll clearly be critical issues with ratification and delays.”

To an extent that would additional undermine the talks, the UK authorities will proceed this week with payments that may violate London’s earlier divorce treaty with the bloc.

Junior Overseas Minister James Cleverly mentioned on Monday that clauses that violate the treaty could be reinserted.

(Extra reporting by Sujata Rao-Coverley and Conor Humphries; Writing by Man Faulconbridge; Enhancing by Michael Holden and Catherine Evans)

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