Brexit is back. The British have now left the European Union, but the two parties are still arguing about their future relationship. Time is running out and the news is piling up quickly, so we’ll have a quick update on what happened this week.
The week started, just like almost every week nowadays, with corona news. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a video message from the heart of London that he was in self-isolation, after contact with a Member of Parliament who was later tested positive.
A few days later it was also hit on the other side of the Channel. A negotiator in team Barnier, the European top negotiator, was found to be infected with the corona virus. Negotiations were then halted at the highest level, given the potential risk of contamination. The umpteenth obstacle in already very difficult Brexit negotiations between the UK and the EU.
’95 percent of deal is ready ‘
Corona infections or not: the negotiations seem to be heading in the right direction and approaching the final phase. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Friday that the negotiations are “still a few meters from the finish line”.
Insiders were opposite the news agency on Saturday Bloomberg more positive than von der Leyen. The news agency spoke with a number of people close to the negotiations and they expect an agreement in the week of November 30, in a little over a week. Ilze Juhansone, Secretary-General of the European Union, reportedly told diplomats on Friday that 95 percent of the deal is already ready.
The three well-known stumbling blocks
What remains is the trio of well-known pain points in these negotiations: fisheries, supervision and the level playing field. The three issues have been the biggest stumbling blocks since the start of negotiations in March.
The final pain point, the level playing field, refers to, for example, environmental and product standards, but also agreements on state aid to companies. Von der Leyen said on Friday that progress has been made in the latter area.
Where no major compromises have yet been reached, insiders whisper against it Bloomberg that they can be the outline of a deal. In addition, Johnson would give the EU something on the level playing field and the British Prime Minister could claim a victory in the tug of war over fishing in British waters.