Brexit news latest- Trade agreement BACK on, says Barnier as French fishermen threaten to block ports over no deal drama

A TRADE deal could be back on the cards, Michel Barnier has said.

It comes after the PM agreed to a list of compromises at the weekend.

Last week, No Deal was looking very likely, prompting furious French fishermen to threaten to block ports in protest.

Trawlermen said they would respond to being shut out of UK waters by stopping ferries carrying vital goods from entering major ports.

But last night Michel Barnier said a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU is STILL possible as Britain and the EU yesterdayagreed to “go the extra mile” to reach a deal despite missing their latest deadline.

And Boris Johnson hinted Brexit talks could last right up until New Year’s Eve – the final day of the Brexit transition period – as he vowed Britain “won’t be walking away”.

And analysis of the situation by the BBC's Katya Adler suggested the EUis now hinting that concessions could be on the cards within the next few days as the end of the transition period looms.

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

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop

    'INAPROPRIATE' FOR UK TO 'FLEX ITS MUSCLES'

    It is "inappropriate" for the UK to "flex its muscles" on fishing, a top official has said.

    Dimitri Rogoff, president of Normandy's regional fisheries committee, said: "There will therefore be blockages to ferries, since this mainly happens by ferries. And on that, we are quite clear and determined."

    The powerful fishing leader said it was "inappropriate" for the UK to "flex its muscles" in the talks by threatening to send in the Navy.

    He said: "We've seen this before a long time ago and we hoped never to see it again in this Europe, which is one of sharing resources.

    "Now the UK has decided to leave but from there to sending warships, it's unimaginable."

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop

    MICHEL BARNIER SAYS EU HAS TAKEN A ‘HARDER’ POSITION ON FISHING 

    Michel Barnier told EU ambassadors No 10 has taken a harder position on fishing during the last few days of Brexit trade talks – which was denied in Britain.

    During a briefing to top envoys he said British negotiators were "backtracking" on possible areas of compromise.

    However, he struck a more optimistic tone and said he did think that a deal was still possible this week.

  • Lottie Tiplady-Bishop

    FRENCH FISHERMEN VOW TO BLOCKADE PORTS OVER NO DEAL

    French fishermen have vowed to blockade Dover and Calais if there's a No Deal Brexit – and warned it could lead to "warlike" tensions in the Channel.

    Trawlermen said they would respond to being shut out of UK waters by stopping ferries carrying vital goods from entering major ports.

    Dimitri Rogoff, president of Normandy's regional fisheries committee, said that will lead to Dutch, Belgian and German ships piling into French waters.

    He told radio station France Info: "If we are deprived of our fishing grounds, we will not watch the British supply the French market.

    "There will therefore be blockages to ferries, since this mainly happens by ferries. And on that, we are quite clear and determined."

  • 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.

  • Christy Cooney

    BREXIT WILL BE 'SLOW PUNCTURE' FOR UK ECONOMY, SAYS EX SIEMENS CHIEF

    The impact of Brexit will be like a "slow puncture" for the UK economy, the former chief executive of tech giant Siemens has said.

    Speaking to the Guardian, Juergen Maier said businesses will face disruption for at least the first half of next year, even if a new trade deal is agreed.

    “It’s going to be a pretty tough for the first six months. That is what I am hearing from the groups that I am on," he said.

    “It’s a slow puncture of the economy is how I describe it, because people will have made their contingency plans to lose bits of their production, to move parts of their research and development over to other places where it’s easier to do it from.

    “They will just start acting on it slowly."

  • Christy Cooney

    TALKS SHOULDN'T GO BEYOND THIS WEEK, SAYS FRENCH MINISTER

    France's European minister his said he thinks Brexit talks should conclude by the end of this week at the latest.

    Clément Beaune said it would be "difficult” for negotiations to be extended any further.

    “Not just because of ratification, but because we need two weeks to organise," he said.

    "Companies are getting anxious. We cannot get to 5pm on December 31 without companies knowing what will happen the next day.”

  • Christy Cooney

    NO DEAL 'POSSIBLE', SAYS NO. 10

    A no-deal Brexit is now only a "possible" option, Downing Street has said.

    The statement marks a deescalation of comments last week by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who said no-deal was a "strong possibility" and "very likely".

    Speaking to the Financial Times, a Number Ten spokesperon said today: "No deal is a potential outcome.

    "[It's] possible."

  • Catriona Graffius

    EU NEGOTIATOR MICHEL BARNIER SAYS DEAL STILL POSSIBLE WITH JUST TWO STICKING POINTS LEFT

    EU negotiator Michel Barnier has revealed there are just two sticking points left in Brexit talks and insisted a deal was "still possible".

    Mr Barnier said this morning there "every chance" a trade deal could be agreed, as both Britain and the bloc hurtled towards the end of the transition period on December 31.

    Speaking this morning, Mr Barnier revealed the three major hurdles to striking a deal had been whittled down to just two.

    "We've only been negotiating for nine months, we've needed at least five years for all the previous agreements, we are going to give every chance to this agreement… which is still possible," Mr Barnier said.

    And in an upbeat briefing with European ambassadors Mr Barnier said there had been progress on how to ensure fair competition, but that No10 was digging its heels in on fishing.  

  • Catriona Graffius

    URSULA VON DER LEYEN ADMITS 'MOVEMENT' IN TRADE TALKS AS BRTISH SOURCE SAYS PROCESS 'STILL HAS LEGS'

    Ursula von der Leyen has said "there is movement" in post-Brexit trade talks as both the EU and Britain renewed efforts in negotiating after extending Sunday's deadline.

    The president of the European Commission said relations with the UK will be “about new beginnings with old friends”, as both sides attempt to go "the extra mile" to reach a deal.

    While a no deal outcome is still likely, one British source said the negotiation process "still has legs".

    The EU and Britain are continuing talks over fishing rights and a level playing field in trade after the UK leaves the EU on December 31.

  • Christy Cooney

    IKEA DELAYS AFTER PORT DISRUPTION

    IKEA customers have expressed anger after port disruption caused some deliveries to be delayed by almost two months. 

    One shopper said they’re still waiting for an order placed on October 22 to arrive.

    Ikea has apologised and confirmed it’s facing stock shortages due to congestion at UK ports.

    Ports have been struggling with increased demand caused by coronavirus lockdowns, Brexit stockpiling, and Christmas orders.

    Read the full story here.

  • Christy Cooney

    SNP 'TO VOTE AGAINST ANY DEAL'

    Scottish National Party MPs in Westminster will vote against any Brexit deal, the Scottish government's Brexit secretary has said.

    Speaking to BBC Radio Scotland, Michael Russell said: "I doubt any deal will be sufficient for Scotland. We voted against this.

    "[What] we should be doing is saying is this is utter folly. Even at this moment look at this, and imagine what a huge mistake you are making.

    "Why on earth would we vote for the first time ever for a Brexit solution which is utterly the wrong thing for Scotland?"

  • Christy Cooney

    PM SHOULD QUIT IF NO DEAL REACHED, SAYS TORY MP

    A Conservative MP has said Boris Johnson should quit as prime minister if he fails to reach a post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union.

    Writing on twitter, Roger Gale, who represents North Thanet, said: “If Mr Johnson fails to reach an acceptable trade agreement with the EU the Prime Minister will also have failed the people of the United Kingdom.

    “As a lifelong member of the Conservative Party, I believe that Mr Johnson's position as Prime Minister would be untenable.

    “As an honourable man, he would have to make way for somebody more able to pick up the pieces, to reunite the whole country and to show the leadership that Great Britain and Northern Ireland deserves.”

  • Christy Cooney

    SIDES 'FURTHER APART' ON FISHERIES

    The UK and EU are now further apart on fisheries than they were earlier in Brexit talks, Michael Barnier has said.

    The EU’s chief negotiator was briefing ambassadors to the EU ahead of the resumption of talks with UK officials today.

    He reportedly said there had been "limited progress" in some areas but also some "backtracking" on fisheries.

  • Christy Cooney

    BARNIER TELLS AMBASSADORS OF 'LIMITED' PROGRESS

    Michael Barnier has told a private meeting of EU ambassadors that there has been "limited" progress in Brexit talks.

    The EU's chief negotiator was briefing the ambassadors ahead of the resumption of talks with UK officials.

  • Christy Cooney

    'NEXT FEW DAYS IMPORTANT', SAYS BARNIER

    The next few days will be important for the prospects of a post-Brexit trade deal, EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier has said.

    Talks between Barnier and UK negotiator David Frost are set to resume today after the two sides failed to reach any agreement last week.

    Posting to twitter this morning, Barnier said: "It is our responsibility to give the talks every chance of success.

    "Never before has such a comprehensive agreement… been negotiated so transparently and in such little time.

    "The next few days are important, if a [deal] is to be in place on 1 January 2021."

  • Christy Cooney

    'PATIENT STILL ALIVE'

    Discussing the prospects of a Brexit trade deal, one EU diplomat has said the "patient [is] still alive" but added: "keep the undertaker on speed dial".

    It came after chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier briefed ambassadors from the block on progress in the talks.

    The two sides are now reportedly more optimistic about reaching a deal, but differences are said to remain on state aid and fisheries.

  • Christy Cooney

    POSITIVE DISCUSSION ON 'LEVEL PLAYING FIELD'

    The UK and the EU have had "positive discussions" on how to address the issue of the so-called level playing field, the Times reports.

    The issue of whether regulations in the UK should need to align with those in the EU after Brexit has been a key sticking point in talks.

    There is concern in the EU that any failure by the UK to do so would give British companies an unfair advantage over European ones.

  • Christy Cooney

    POUND RISES AS TALKS SET TO RESUME

    The value of the pound has risen after Michel Barnier said he thought a Brexit deal is still possible.

    Ahead of further talks today, Barnier said: “We are going to give every chance to this agreement… which is still possible."

    Following the comment, the pound rose above $1.34 for the first time since Wednesday night.

  • Christy Cooney

    'MINIMAL PROGRESS' IN TALKS

    Negotiations between the UK and EU have brought "minimal progress" towards a Brexit deal, according to a UK official.

    Fears remain high that the UK is heading for a no-deal exit with talks having so far failed to reach an agreement.

    Speaking to Politco's Playbook, one UK official said there had been "minimal progress", but added there was so far "no breakthrough".

  • Christy Cooney

    'DEAL STILL POSSIBLE', SAYS BARNIER

    A Brexit trade deal is still possible, the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier has said.

    Barnier was speaking as talks are set to resume after negotiators failed to overcome remaining sticking points last week.

    Arriving to brief EU ambassadors ahead of the talks today, he said: “We are going to give every chance to this agreement… which is still possible.

    “A good, balanced agreement.”

  • John Hall

    FROST TO REMAIN IN BRUSSELS 'A COUPLE MORE DAYS'

    The UK's chief Brexit negotiator David Frost will reportedly remain in Brussels at least another few days as talks continue.

    It comes with negotiations set to resume today after earlier talks failed to overcome remaining sticking points.

    There has been speculation that talks could continue until the days before the current transition period expires on December 31.

    Politico's Playbook reports that Frost is expected to remain in Brussels “at least a couple more days”.

  • John Hall

    CONTINUING TALKS THE 'RESPONSIBLE' THING TO DO

    Continuing negotiations to work towards a Brexit deal is the "responsible" thing to do, British and EU leaders have said.

    It comes after talks between Boris Johnson and EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen last week failed to overcome remaining disagreements.

    A joint statement from the pair yesterday read: "Our negotiating teams have been working day and night over recent days.

    "And despite the exhaustion after almost a year of negotiations, despite the fact that deadlines have been missed over and over we think it is responsible at this point to go the extra mile.

    "We have accordingly mandated our negotiators to continue the talks and to see whether an agreement can even at this late stage be reached."

  • John Hall

    BARNIER TO BRIEF AMBASSADORS

    Michel Barnier, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, is set to brief ambassadors from the bloc on the current state of the talks.

    It comes after British and EU leaders agreed to continue negotiations after the original deadline to reach a new trade deal passed without any being agreed.

    A tweet from Sebastian Fischer, an EU spokesman for Germany, which currently holds the bloc's presidency, read: "EU Chief negotiator Michel Barnier will brief EU Ambassadors tomorrow at 8.30 a.m. on the state of play of EU-UK negotiations.

    “Ambassadors will then review the situation.”

  • John Hall

    BORIS DOESN’T WANT TO WALK AWAY

    Britain and the European Union are still apart in Brexit trade talks but the PM does not want to walk away yet, Business Secretary Alok Sharma said.

    "We will continue discussing, we are of course apart on certain matters but as the prime minister said, we don't want to walk away from these talks," Sharma told Sky.

    "People expect us, businesses expect us in the UK to go the extra mile and that's precisely what we're doing.”

  • John Hall

    BREXIT TALKS COULD GO ON PAST CHRISTMAS

    With no cut-off date given for when the talks must wrap up, it leaves the door open for the wrangling to go on until December 31 – when the transitional arrangements are due to cease.

    Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg has still not published the dates for MPs' Christmas holiday, leaving those on the green benches braced to be called in to Westminster over the festive season to vote on a possible UK-EU trade deal.

    Former chief whip Mark Harper, speaking to BBC Radio 4's Westminster Hour, said: "It depends on when it is concluded, but many of us are fully anticipating it's entirely possible we might be returning to Parliament between Christmas and new year to scrutinise this and vote it through if a deal is done."

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