Brexit news latest – EU still making 'INSULTING' trade deal demands as Barnier warns 'moment of truth' is now upon us

BORIS Johnson is today still fighting for a deal after more unsucessful talks yesterday.

The PM said the EU's stance needs a serious shift as an insider branded the bloc's demands "virtually insulting".

In a phone call last night with EU chief Ursula von der Leyen, Mr Johnson admitted the talks were in a “serious situation” and would collapse unless the EU moves substantially from “unreasonable demands”.

And a source said: “What they’re asking us to sign is bordering on offensive.”

Follow our Brexit live blog for all the latest news and updates…

  • Chris Bradford

    STEADY HANDS

    European stocks were steady at the start of trading today, with markets waiting to see if Britain and the EU can finally strike a post-Brexit trade deal.

    London's FTSE 100 index opened flat at 6,551.46 points.

    In the eurozone, Frankfurt's DAX 30 index dipped 0.2 percent to 13,645.78 points and the Paris CAC 40 also eased 0.2 percent to 5,540.22.

    This comes after chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier warned that Brexit talks are at a "moment of truth" with just hours left to reach an agreement with the UK.

    "It's the moment of truth," Barnier told the European Parliament.

  • Chris Bradford

    'VERY NARROW' PATH TO DEAL SAYS BARNIER

    EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier has warned there is only a "very narrow" path to a post-Brexit trade deal with the UK as both sides stand at the "moment of truth".

    "We're not asking more nor less than a balance between rights and obligations and reciprocity, access to our markets and access to our waters and the other way round, no more, no less," he told MEPs this morning.

    "It's also obvious that this isn't an agreement we will sign at any price or any cost.

    "I think I've always been frank with you and open and sincere. I cannot say what will come during this last home straight of negotiations. We have to be prepared for all eventualities."

  • Chris Bradford

    IN PICTURES: BARNIER ADDRESSING EU PARLIAMENT

    Credit: REUTERS

     

  • Chris Bradford

    BARNIER: 'JUST A FEW HOURS REMAIN'

    The EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier has said "just a few hours" remain remained for negotiations if the bloc wants to reach a free trade agreement with the UK.

    "It's the moment of truth. We have very little time remaining, just a few hours to work through these negotiations in a useful fashion if we want this agreement to enter into force on the first of January," he told the European Parliament in Brussels.

    "There is a chance of getting an agreement but the path to such an agreement is very narrow."

  • Chris Bradford

    BRITAIN WANTS A DEAL BUT WE'RE 'PREPARED TO WALK AWAY'

    The UK wants a free trade deal with the European Union but the government is prepared to walk away from talks unless the bloc respects Britain's sovereignty, the country's school minister said today.

    "It is a very serious situation. We will test every route to seeking a free trade agreement with the European Union, but we cannot do so at the expense of our national sovereignty," Nick Gibb told Sky News.

    "We want a free trade deal. The EU will have to move if we are going to secure that deal.

    "We'll test every route, but we are prepared for a no free trade deal arrangement"

  • Tariq Tahir

    TALKS CONTINUE DESPITE 'BIG DIFFERENCES' REMAINING

    Trade deal talks between the UK and European Union will continue in Brussels after the two sides warned that major obstacles remain despite progress in the negotiations.

    Boris Johnson told European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen in a call on Thursday evening that the EU must "significantly" shift its stance on fishing if there is to be an agreement.

    Mrs von der Leyen acknowledged that "big differences" remained between the two sides and stressed that "bridging them will be very challenging".

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop

    DOWN TO THE WIRE

    The EU and the UK are yet to reach a deal amid ongoing Brexit negotiations.

    The December 31 is fast approaching for both parties.

    At this point Boris Johnson appears to be preparing for No Deal, as he insists it is still the most likely outcome.

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop

    WHAT IS A NO DEAL BREXIT?

    A No Deal departure from the European Union means leaving without formal arrangements for the future relationship.

    Britain's trade, customs and immigration rules were tied up with the single market and a host of EU regulatory bodies.

    The UK ended up leaving the EU on January 31 with a transition period until December 31 2020.

    While we did leave with a deal – in which this transition period was agreed – there is still the possibility of ending up in a no deal scenario still.

    If there is no arrangement for our future relationship by the end of this period then Britain will have left the EU with no deal and will trade on World Trade Organisation rules.

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop

    'EU STANCE VIRTUALLY OFFENSIVE'

    Boris Johnson hit the phone to Brussels last night amid a new Brexit deadlock.

    The EU stance on unfair competition was declared virtually “offensive” while bids to break the fishing stalemate also failed.

    Brussels, which originally suggested a ten-year transition for the UK getting back full control of its fish stocks, have dropped that to eight years. But Brit negotiators suggest three years.

    And the EU wants to exempt more than £680billion it spends subsidising industries on the Continent while demanding the right to punish Britain for similar state aid spending.

    A source said: “What they’re asking us to sign is bordering on offensive.”

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop

    ‘NO DEAL STILL LIKELY’

    Boris Johnson is reportedly still preparing for a No Deal Brexit after yet more failed talks today. 

    The PM’s spokesperson said: “The prime minister repeated that little time was left.

    "He said that, if no agreement could be reached, the UK and the EU would part as friends, with the UK trading with the EU on Australian-style terms.”

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop

    WHAT ARE THE STICKING POINTS TO A DEAL?

    EQUIVALENCE/EU RULES: Boris said tonight that the UK would have to follow whatever new laws Brussels brings in, or face punishments, sanctions or tariffs. This is something he says would tie Britain to the EU's orbit for years to come – and he couldn't accept.

    FISH: The PM claimed the deal would mean we still wouldn't have control of our waters when we leave. Boris has long promised freedom for fisherman – and is trying to strike a deal to give them some access but us in control

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop

    WHAT IS AN AUSTRALIA-STYLE DEAL?

    • An Australian-style deal means leaving the EU without an agreement with the bloc in place
    • Essentially, Australia don't have an agreement with the union, and trade with them on World Trade Organisation terms
    • It means that both countries charge import and export tariffs on trading goods – which can push up the price of some items

    EU'S POSITION ON FISHERIES 'SIMPLY NOT REASONABLE'

    Boris Johnson is reported to have told EU chief Ursula von der Leyen that the bloc's position on fisheries is "simply not reasonable".

    Speaking over the phone tonight the PM stressed the EU "needed to shift significantly" on the issue if a deal was to be reached, reports Sky News.

    TRADE TALKS IN A 'SERIOUS SITUATION'

    The PM has told EU chief Ursula von der Leyen Brexit talks are in a "serious situation".

    Speaking via phone tonight, he told Ms von der Lyen "the negotiations were now in a serious situation," a No 10 spokesperson said.

    The spokesperson added: "He said that we were making every effort to accommodate reasonable EU requests on the level playing field, but even though the gap had narrowed some fundamental areas remained difficult."

    DEAL OR NO DEAL?

    Ms von der Leyen's statement – detailed below – comes as minister Michael Gove says there's less than a 50 per cent chance of a deal.

    He told peers talks may go on until after Christmas – but he doesn't favour the odds that the sides will agree

    And the EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, tweeted "good progress" had been made on a deal but "stumbling blocks remain".

    Talks in Brussels will continue on Friday, with two weeks to go before the UK leaves EU trading rules.

    • Alex Winter

      'BIG DIFFERENCES REMAIN – THEY'LL BE CHALLENGING TO RESOLVE'

      "Big differences remain" in talks to reach a post-Brexit trade deal, the EU Commission head has said following a call with Boris Johnson.

      Ursula von der Leyen welcomed "substantial progress on many issues" and said talks would continue.

      But she warned that it would be "very challenging" to overcome the two sides' differences, particularly on fisheries.

    • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop

      HOW WILL BREXIT AFFECT EUROPEAN TRAVEL?

      New Brexit rules will require Brits to have at least six months validity on their passports, and animal owners to subject pets, including cats and dogs, to EU blood-tests before travelling.

      Brits will also be advised to check their mobile phone provider's roaming policy, as free coverage may end.

      "As with all Brexit matters, there's some guesswork involved in what the state of play will be once the next deadline passes – and the transition period ends," warns James Daley from campaign group Fairer Finance.

      Click here to find out more about how travel insurance and EHIC will change after Brexit.

    • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop

      GOVE: 'THERE'S A 50/50 CHANCE OF A DEAL'

      Michael Gove said today there's still a 50/50 chance of a deal being done, and MPs could be recalled to Parliament any day to approve the new laws.

      They will head off for their Christmas break tonight – but could be dragged back to London any day except for Christmas Day.

    • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop

      WHAT IS A NO DEAL BREXIT?

      A No Deal departure from the European Union means leaving without formal arrangements for the future relationship.

      Britain's trade, customs and immigration rules were tied up with the single market and a host of EU regulatory bodies.

      The UK ended up leaving the EU on January 31 with a transition period until December 31 2020.

      While we did leave with a deal – in which this transition period was agreed – there is still the possibility of ending up in a no deal scenario still.

      If there is no arrangement for our future relationship by the end of this period then Britain will have left the EU with no deal and will trade on World Trade Organisation rules.

    • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop

      DEAL STILL UNCLEAR

      It's still not clear whether a trade deal will be in place when the UK leavesthe EU at the end of the month.

      However, the Government "continues to work hard" in its negotiations with the EU to maintain cover at existing levels, according to health minister Edward Argar.

      He added that if an EU-wide deal is not reached, the UK will "assess its options" for healthcare, including "the possibility of negotiating bilateral arrangements" with individual states.

      Brexit talks are still ongoing, despite several deadlines being missed.

    • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop

      UK CITIZENS COULD LOSE OUT ON EU HEALTHCARE

      UK citizens could lose access to state-provided healthcare in the EU through the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) when the Brexit transition period closes.

      Currently, UK citizens can get cover for medical costs when visiting a country inside the EU with the (EHIC).

      These cards enable the holder to access treatment at the same cost as locals – so if it's free for them, it's free for you, and if they pay then you pay the same rates.

      But after December 31, 2020 – Brexit day – these will no longer be valid and Brits will have to pay extra to buy separate cover, unless we strike an agreement for continued health coverage with the EU.

    • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop

      GOVERNMENT HEALTHCARE HANDOUT 

      UK travellers visiting the EU who need ongoing, routine healthcare treatment will have it paid for up to a year after we leave the bloc, even in event of a no-deal.

      The temporary agreement will help people who require services such as regular dialysis, oxygen therapy and certain types of chemotherapy, the Government announced today.

      In a written statement, health minister Edward Argar said: "The Government recognises that these ongoing, routine treatment costs can be expensive, and makes travelling abroad extremely challenging for many people.

      "The scheme will be temporary and will cover travel that takes place between 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2021.

      "Individuals will need to work with their NHS clinician to agree their treatment requirements and confirm they meet the criteria in the scheme."

      The agreement is reciprocal and relates to the European Economic Area and Switzerland.

    • Dan Keane

      EUROPEAN LEADERS IN SELF-ISOLATION

      A host of European leaders are in self-isolation following Emmanuel Macron's positive coronavirus test.

      Macron, 42, was tested after the "onset of the first symptoms" and will now self isolate for seven days in accordance with national regulations, his office said in a statement.

      European Council president Charles Michel and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez were both at a Paris conference organised by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and are now isolating.

      It comes at an awkward time as the French leader attempts to relax coronavirus restrictions in France and play a lead role in Brexit talks.

    • Dan Keane

      GOVE SAYS DEAL IS 50/50

      The chances of an agreement with the EU on a post-Brexit trade deal are "less than 50%", Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove has said.

      As negotiations between the two sides continued, Mr Gove told the Commons Brexit Committee the "most likely outcome" was that the current transition period would end on December 31 without a deal.

      He told MPs: "I think, regrettably, the chances are more likely that we won't secure an agreement. So at the moment less than 50%."

    • Dan Keane

      AGREEMENT ON IRISH SEA BORDER ANNOUNCED

      The UK and EU have formally announced an agreement on how the Irish sea border will operate after the transition period ends next month.

      It comes after senior representatives from both sides met at the Joint Committee today.

      According to the BBC, one of the main features of the agreement is a 'trusted trader scheme'.

      This means the vast majority of goods shipped from the UK to Northern Ireland will not be at risk of tariffs.

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