EU, UK PUSH BREXIT TRADE TALKS BEYOND DECEMBER 13 DEADLINE
London and Brussels agreed to “go the extra mile” in coming days to try to reach an elusive trade agreement despite missing their latest deadline to avert a turbulent “no deal” exit for Britain from the European Union’s orbit at the end of the month, Gabriela Baczynska and Costas Pitas reported for Reuters.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the president of the EU’s executive commission, Ursula von der Leyen had given negotiators a Sunday deadline to find a way to resolve an impasse on arrangements that would guarantee Britain zero-tariff and zero-quota access to the EU’s single market. On Sunday they mandated negotiators to continue, although Johnson sounded a downbeat note on prospects for a breakthrough. “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,” Johnson and von der Leyen said in a joint statement.
Related Story: "UK Agrees to Take Out Contentious Issues in Brexit Deal"
Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said that he believes that a post-Brexit trade deal is achievable and that both sides want one, but that negotiations must be finalized in the coming days, Vincent Wood reported for the Independent of the UK on December 13, 2020. “Despite some of the commentary we've got from various different sources in the last week, I think both sides do want a deal and they want a deal now,” Coveney told national broadcaster RTE.
The UK Ministry of Defense said four Royal Navy patrol ships will be ready on Jan. 1 to help protect Britain’s fishing waters in the event of no deal. There are concerns about possible skirmishes between British and foreign fishing vessels under that scenario because existing rules that give EU boats access to British waters will expire. European Council President Charles Michel told France Inter Radio the bloc would keep its cool: “I will not say like Donald Trump might that our boats are bigger than theirs, because I try to be serious. On the European side, we will keep our composure.” France also shrugged off the naval deployment plans. “Keep calm and carry on,” an official at the French presidential office told Reuters on Saturday, using a British wartime slogan.