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Will no-deal Brexit be declared tonight
Surely the latest news on the Brexit talks makes a no-deal outcome unavoidable?
The EU Council met yesterday and discussed the Brexit talks. And their conclusions from the meeting were that the negotiations were to continue and for their Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, to press ahead with their demands regardless.
That’s right; they think they’re calling Boris’s bluff.
The EU Council said in a statement that the EU27 leaders were concerned that:
“…. progress on the key issues of interest to the Union is still not sufficient for an agreement to be reached.”
It then said they were determined to have as close a partnership with the UK as possible – based on their negotiating directives. Especially where, guess what, the level playing field, governance and fisheries are concerned.
“Against this background, the European Council invites the Unionʼs chief negotiator to continue negotiations in the coming weeks, and calls on the UK to make the necessary moves to make an agreement possible.”
So, the EU will not move on its red lines but still expects the UK to do so.
It also said that the Withdrawal Agreement and Northern Ireland Protocols “… must be fully and timely implemented …”.
Well, they will be, but according to the UK interpretation of them as explained by the clauses in the UK Internal Market Bill.
And the EU Council statement goes on to say:
“The European Council calls upon Member States, Union institutions and all stakeholders to step up their work on preparedness and readiness at all levels and for all outcomes, including that of no agreement, and invites the Commission, in particular, to give timely consideration to unilateral and time-limited contingency measures that are in the EUʼs interest.”
And it ends with:
“The European Council will remain seized of the matter.”
On the UK side, Lord David Frost said in a series of Tweets:
“Disappointed by the #EUCO conclusions on UK/EU negotiations. Surprised EU is no longer committed to working “intensively” to reach a future partnership as agreed with @vonderleyen on 3 October.
“Also surprised by suggestion that to get an agreement all future moves must come from UK. It’s an unusual approach to conducting a negotiation.
“PM @BorisJohnson will set out UK reactions and approach tomorrow in the light of his statement of 7 September.”
And just to remind people of what the PM Boris Johnson said in his statement of the 7th of September. He started by saying:
“We are now entering the final phase of our negotiations with the EU.
Then went on to say:
“The EU have been very clear about the timetable. I am too. There needs to be an agreement with our European friends by the time of the European Council on 15 October if it’s going to be in force by the end of the year.
“So there is no sense in thinking about timelines that go beyond that point. If we can’t agree by then, then I do not see that there will be a free trade agreement between us, and we should both accept that and move on.”
He also said:
“We will then have a trading arrangement with the EU like Australia’s. I want to be absolutely clear that, as we have said right from the start, that would be a good outcome for the UK.”
And he said that the UK is preparing for such an outcome if required, and that:
“We will have full control over our laws, our rules, and our fishing waters. We will have the freedom to do trade deals with every country in the world. And we will prosper mightily as a result.”
Boris also said that the UK would:
“… be ready to find sensible accommodations on practical issues such as flights, lorry transport, or scientific cooperation, if the EU wants to do that.”
And he ended the statement by saying:
“Even at this late stage, if the EU are ready to rethink their current positions and agree this I will be delighted. But we cannot and will not compromise on the fundamentals of what it means to be an independent country to get it.”
All seems pretty clear cut to me.