Tag Archives: Trade

Provisional EU-UK Agreement

Brussels 26.12.2020 The European Union and the United Kingdom reached an agreement in principle on the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement on December 24, 2020.

The entry into application of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement is a matter of special urgency.

The United Kingdom, as a former Member State, has extensive links with the Union in a wide range of economic and other areas. If there is no applicable framework regulating the relations between the Union and the United Kingdom after 31 December 2020, those relations will be significantly disrupted, to the detriment of individuals, businesses and other stakeholders.

The negotiations could only be finalised at a very late stage before the expiry of the transition period. Such late timing should not jeopardise the European Parliament’s right of democratic scrutiny, in accordance with the Treaties.
In light of these exceptional circumstances, the Commission proposes to apply the Agreement on a provisional basis, for a limited period of time until 28 February 2021.
The Council, acting by the unanimity of all 27 Member States, will then need to adopt a decision authorising the signature of the Agreement and its provisional application as of 1 January 2021. Once this process is concluded, the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and the UK can be formally signed.

The European Parliament will then be asked to give its consent to the Agreement.

As a last step on the EU side, the Council must adopt the decision on the conclusion of the Agreement.

EU-UK Sunday talks continue

Brussels 13.12.2020 British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that he will “continue talking” with the EU in an attempt to reach a trade deal, but that leaving without one and trading in future on World Trade Organization (WTO) terms is more likely.

The European commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, and the UK prime minister have agreed that trade talks should continue, and she called the exchange of opinions on telephone this morning “useful”.

Prime Minister has underlined that both parties had described the discussions as “constructive and useful”, in a moving away from their previous terms of “lively and interesting”. The joint statement was a sign they were working to try to find a way forward together, he added.

EU-UK: preparations for no-deal

Brussels 10.12.2020 In spite of the considerable efforts of the negotiators “very large gaps remain” between the UK and EU, despite talks in persona between Boris Johnson, who came to Brussels, and EU to executive Ursula von der Leyen aimed at breaking the Brexit trade deadlock, according to No 10 spokesperson.

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said the two sides were still “far apart“. Meanwhile talks between the UK’s chief negotiator Lord Frost and the EU’s Michel Barnier will resume in Brussels. However British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said it was “unlikely” the negotiations would be extended beyond December 13, Sunday.

After their meeting, the British Prime minister and European Commission president “agreed that by Sunday a firm decision should be taken about the future of the talks”, a No 10 spokesperson added.

In view of the looming no-deal on Thursday morning, the EU set out the measures it would implement in the event of a no-deal scenario.

The plan includes allowing aviation safety certificates to continue to apply to avoid the grounding of aircraft.

“The EU will “never sacrifice (its) future” to conclude a post-Brexit agreement at the cost of concessions that would weaken its single market, warned European negotiator Michel Barnier, while negotiations between Brussels and London are deadlocked.

Brexit: no-deal looming

Brussels 04.12.2020 “After one week of intense negotiations in London, together with
David Frost, we agreed today that the conditions for an agreement are not met, due to significant divergences on level playing field, governance and fisheries” the EU top negotiator Michel Barnier wrote on his Twitter account.

“We agreed to pause the talks in order to brief our Principals on the state of play of the negotiations. President von der Leyen, and Prime Minister Johnson will discuss the state of play tomorrow afternoon” Barnier informed. The similar announcement made the UK sherpa David Frost on his micro blog.

After a long period of the negotiations, shifting from one deadlock to another, there is little hope left to see the deal done. There is also little expectation for last minute “miracle” solution patching the differences. There is no hope in the last minute mending done by Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen who would meet on have talks on December 7.

EU stands behind Barnier

Brussels 15.10.2020 “…The European Council invites the Unionʼs chief negotiator (Michel Barnier) to continue negotiations in the coming weeks, and calls on the UK to make the necessary moves to make an agreement possible” the text of European Council conclusions on EU-UK relations reads.

The EU Council president Charles Michel expressed the leaders concern by lack of progress in the EU-UK talks.

The European Council reaffirmed the Union’s determination to have “as close as possible” a partnership with the United Kingdom on the basis of the negotiating directives of 25 February 2020, while respecting the previously agreed European Council guidelines, as well as statements and declarations, notably those of 25 November 2018, in particular as regards the level playing field, governance and fisheries, according to the Council conclusions.

#EUCO: EU-UK future relations at stake

Brussels 13.10.2020 Today the EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier has informed the EU Ministers on the state of play of talks between the block and the UK, and the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement. He also confirmed the “strong EU unity” ahead of European Council on October 15-16. Barnier added that the EU will continue to work for a fair deal in the coming days and weeks.

Ahead of the Council European Council President Charles Michel has called the British government to put “all cards on the table” respecting to Brexit Withdrawal Agreement. “To get to a deal, we need significant steps by our British friends in the coming days”, he added.

“We have given a very strong signal to the British government: If the Finance Bill is introduced with that provision in it, many in the EU will see that as an indication that the British government simply doesn’t want a deal. It would be a second piece of legislation designed to deliberately break the Withdrawal Agreement text”.

With the 15 October European Council date approaching, the negotiations between the EU and the UK are becoming more intense to meet the deadline.

Michel Barnier next travelled to London to meet with UK Chief Negotiator David Frost, while informal talks continued this past week. European Council President Charles Michel and Prime Minister Johnson spoke by phone on 7 October to discuss the progress of the intensified negotiations ahead of the 15 October Summit.

Since UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s joint statement over the weekend, EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier travelled to Berlin on Monday to meet with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.

The latter stressed the pandemic has made the negotiations with the UK even more difficult. Regardless of this hurdle, Maas added a no-deal Brexit would be “irresponsible”, saying the EU remains open to establishing a “close and ambitious partnership” with the UK. He warned, however, that progress is needed at this stage of the talks on state aid, the Irish border and dispute resolution.

Meanwhile, the UK Government announced its intention to push through a Finance Bill (not yet published) for approval by the end of the year could prove problematic for achieving a deal with the EU. The Bill is expected to include clauses which would allow the UK Government to make unilateral decisions about which goods were “at risk” of being traded on from Northern Ireland into the EU, and should therefore be subject to tariffs. The EU argues that this would be a further breach the Withdrawal Agreement and may therefore risk a no-deal exit scenario.

On October 7 in a separate procedure the Scottish Parliament voted to withhold consent on the UK’s Internal Market Bill. Both the Scottish and Welsh governments have stated the Bill overrides their powers of administration.

EU-UK: attempt to bridge gaps

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, spoke today about the state of play in the negotiations on the future relationship between the UK and the EU.

They agreed on the importance of finding an agreement, if at all possible, as a strong basis for a strategic EU-UK relationship in future.

They endorsed the assessment of both Chief Negotiators that progress had been made in recent weeks but that significant gaps remained, notably but not only in the areas of fisheries, the level playing field, and governance.

They instructed their Chief Negotiators to work intensively in order to try to bridge those gaps.

They agreed to speak on a regular basis on this issue.

Lord Frost: UK-EU differences remain

Brussels 2.10.2020 Lord David Frost, UK Chief Negotiator Lord David Frost issued the following statement, while concluding this week’s negotiating Round with the EU.

“We have just completed the ninth Round of our negotiations with the EU about our future relationship.
“These were constructive discussions conducted in a good spirit.
“In many areas of our talks, although differences remain, the outlines of an agreement are visible. This is true of most of the core areas of a trade and economic agreement – notably trade in goods and services, transport, energy, social security, and participation in EU programmes. This has however been true for some time.
“I am also encouraged that progress has been possible on a law enforcement agreement and that there has been convergence on the structure of the overall partnership.
“In other areas familiar differences remain. On the level playing field, including subsidy policy, we continue to seek an agreement that ensures our ability to set our own laws in the UK without constraints that go beyond those appropriate to a free trade agreement. There has been some limited progress here but the EU need to move further before an understanding can be reached. On fisheries the gap between us is unfortunately very large and, without further realism and flexibility from the EU, risks being impossible to bridge. These issues are fundamental to our future status as an independent country.
“I am concerned that there is very little time now to resolve these issues ahead of the European Council on 15 October.
“For our part, we continue to be fully committed to working hard to find solutions, if they are there to be found.”

Brexit: EU intensifies negotiations

The post-Brexit trade talks remained deadlocked on key areas, as London urged Brussels to give ground to avoid a damaging “no-deal” at the end of the year. They have pinpointed a European summit to October 15 as the latest agreement could be reached for it to be ratified in time for it take effect at the end of the year.

However the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier and his UK counterpart David Frost complained of a continued gulf between the two sides in crucial areas such as competition rules and fishing rights.

After the ninth round of talks in the difficult process broke up in Brussels, with renewed commitments to find a way out of the impasse, there was clear acknowledgement the deadline approaches.

“To reach an agreement, these divergences must necessarily be overcome over the next weeks,” said Barnier.

Despite indicating there were signs of agreement in a number of areas, Frost warned disagreements over competition rules and fishing may be “impossible” to overcome without the EU giving ground.

“I am concerned that there is very little time now to resolve these issues ahead of the European Council on October 15,” he said.

Next steps may be determined on October 3 in a video conference between European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen and Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Prime Minister Johnson said it was up to Brussels to agree to terms to unblock a deal.

“It’s all there, it’s just up to them,” he told the BBC, urging the EU to bow to common sense.

UK and EU officials have underlined the two leaders would take stock of progress made in the latest round of talks even as the European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen warned against a deal “at any price”.

“This is so difficult, but overall where there is a will there is a way. I think we should intensify the negotiations,” the EU top executive told press after meeting leaders of the 27-member bloc.

EU “firm” on respecting Brexit deal

Brussels 21.09.2020 According to an EU official the president of the EU Council Charles Michel met with top EU-UK negotiator Michel Barnier today to discuss a number of issues concerning the ongoing talks with the United Kingdom on the comprehensive trade agreement. The central focus has been the state of play of the negotiations, especially regarding the intention of the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to re-write the Withdrawal Agreement unilaterally.

PM Johnson defends his plan to unilaterally rewrite Britain’s Brexit deal with the European Union as an insurance policy against the bloc’s unreasonable behaviour — even as his former attorney general joined the ranks of once-loyal lawmakers refusing the contentious move.
Regarding the situation the EU official said that the position of the bloc remains “firm and steady” towards the need to fully implement the Withdrawal Agreement. The EU will not be “intimidated nor impressed”, but still the breaking of the international agreement remains “extremely worrying”.
Meanwhile Michel Barnier is also to preparing the briefing for the heads of states and governments of the EU member-states at special European Council on September 24-25, reporting on analysis of the situation.
At present the EU is looking for an agreement on our future relation, but that requires substantial progress on key issues as level playing field and fisheries, the EU official has underlined.

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