Brexit trade talks creep closer to Christmas Day
Written by on 24 December 2020
Post-Brexit trade talks seem to be on the cusp of a breakthrough, but are dragging on closer to Christmas Day after hours of negotiations.
After 24 hours of anticipation that an agreement could be announced imminently, discussions are still continuing.
Boris Johnson and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen are expected to hold a phone call on Thursday that would be their fifth in two days.
The prime minister has already been ringing round pro-Brexit MPs on the European Research Group, suggesting he wants to convince them a potential agreement will be satisfactory and live up to their expectations.
Simon Coveney, the Irish foreign minister, said earlier on Thursday that he “had hoped to be talking to you this morning in parallel with big announcements happening in both London and Brussels” – but none have happened yet.
There appeared to be “some sort of last-minute hitch”, he said, but added of the announcements that: “We still expect those later on today.”
Meanwhile, the flurry of excitement led Nigel Farage, one of the key figures in the Brexit movement and a former UKIP leader, to declare that “the war is over”.
He added: “I suspect on some of the detail, such as we’ll be back in charge of our fisheries, history may judge some of those aspects a little more harshly.
“But on the big stuff, the war is over. It has gone on for decades in this country.”
There is now just one week until the end of the transition period – the arrangements the UK entered into after Brexit happened on 31 January that have seen the country continue to follow most EU rules.