Brexit news latest – EU trade deal BOMBSHELL as Barnier dashes for crisis talks with Merkel after Brexit plans stumble

MICHEL Barnier has dashed for crisis talks with Angela Merkel amid fears UK-EU Brexit trade deal could collapse.

The EU's chief Brexit negotiator is desperate to get a free trade agreement over the line by the December 31 deadline and is banking on the German Chancellor to help secure it.

Merkel currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency and will therefore play a huge role in convincing her counterparts to support any UK-EU deal.

She is understood to be optimistic and on Friday said London remains on “a constructive path".

But she also warned the "breach" of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement through the UK Government's Internal Market Bill is a "bitter" blow in efforts to reach a deal.

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  • John Hall

    What is the October 15 deadline?

    The PM has told EU bosses an agreement must be reached by October 15 in time for the European Council meeting or the UK will leave without a deal.

    Mr Johnson has said it has to be ready by then for the UK to leave on time at the end of the transition period, as planned in the Withdrawal Agreement Bill on December 31.

    But hopes of a deal have hit a standstill for months on two major sticking points – fishing rights and state aid rules.

  • John Hall


    Key sticking points on issues such as state aid and fishing rights have brought discussions with Brussels to a standstill – here's what's happened so far and what could happen next.

    For Brexit explained click here.

  • John Hall


    Speaking to the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, Mr Johnson said: “I think it's there to be done. Alas, there are some difficult issues that need to be fixed.

    “There is no question that the EU needs to understand that we're utterly serious about needing to control our own laws and our own regulations.

    He added: “I don't want the Australian-WTO type outcome, particularly, but we can more than live with it.”

    Trade Secretary Liz Truss said Brexit would enable the UK to get out of the “slow lane” of the EU by signing fast trade deals with other nations.

    She said she was confident of a swift US trade deal regardless of who wins next month’s presidential election – and said it will boost trade by £15 billion.

  • John Hall


    A Brexit deal is within touching distance but there are “difficult issues” still outstanding, Boris Johnson said yesterday.

    He stressed that he does not want an Australian style trade agreement with the EU – code word for no deal – but insisted “we can more than live with it”.

    But Nigel Farage piled pressure on the PM not to buckle in the final fortnight of negotiations by warning he is ready to restart his Brexit party if the deal “does not fully satisfy many Brexiteers”.

    The PM and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen spoke via video conference on Saturday ahead of a crunch week of talks between the two sides this week.

    Mr Johnson has set a deadline of mid-October to reach agreement – to give the country enough time to fully prepare for a no deal outcome at the end of the transition period in December.

  • John Hall


    Sterling fell against the euro on Monday, although not by much, and most analysts say they now expect Britain and the European Union to meet the transition deadline and soon conclude a Brexit deal.

  • John Hall


    As Britain's negotiations with the European Union on a post-Brexit trade deal go down to the wire, Prime Minister Boris Johnson says his country could trade with the bloc on similar terms to Australia, if no agreement is reached.

    But Australia itself is far from happy with its arrangements with the EU and is pushing for the better market access that only a fully-fledged trade deal with the wealthy 27-member bloc and its 500 million potential customers would bring.

    Now, the bulk of Australia's 15 billion euros ($18 billion)exports to the EU are subject to tariffs and quotas set under basic World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms.

    That's why Australian exporters are backing Canberra's moves to strike a new free trade agreement (FTA) with Brussels so they can get the certainty they need to invest and plan.

  • John Hall


    Goldman Sachs is advising clients to buy sterling, noting that recent events indicate Britain and the European Union were converging towards a post-Brexit trade deal which it reckons could be done by early November.

    The U.S. investment bank said on Monday that while the risk of a breakdown in negotiations could not be ruled out, “our core view remains that a “thin” zero-tariff/zero-quota trade agreement will likely be struck by early November, and subsequently ratified by the end of December”.

    While Goldman analysts saw the probability of 'no deal' likely persisting beyond the mid-October European Council meeting, they suggest going 'long' the pound versus the euro, targeting a rise to 87 pence, from the current 91 pence .

    A Brexit deal would significantly reduce the risk that the Bank of England would introduce negative interest rates, the bank added.

  • John Hall


    The COVID-19 pandemic has made sealing a post-Brexit trade relationship with Britain more urgent than before and failing to get a deal would be irresponsible, Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Monday.

    Speaking after a meeting European Union's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, Maas said the EU wanted to be constructive and was still aiming for a deal.

    “With today's health and economic challenges, people on both sides of the channel have enough to shoulder, so it would be totally irresponsible to burden them in this position with additional problems through a no-deal,” Maas said.

  • John Hall


    European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen says she has placed herself in isolation after being in contact with a person infected with the coronavirus.

    In a message posted on Twitter Monday, the head of the EU's executive arm said she took part in a meeting last Tuesday that was attended by a person who yesterday tested positive.

    She said she tested negative for the virus on Thursday and that she will undergo another test later Monday.

    Von der Leyen said she will be in quarantine until Tuesday morning.

  • John Hall


    The coronavirus pandemic and a no-deal Brexit could cost the United Kingdom around £134 billion each year in lost GDP for 10 years, according to research by law firm Baker & McKenzie.

    Covid-19 could cause Britain’s GDP to drop 2.2 per cent below the levels anticipated before the outbreak, Baker & McKenzie claimed in a report titled “The Future of UK Trade: Merged Realities of Brexit and COVID-19.”

    But without a trade deal, Britain's GDP would fall another 3.9 per cent, the law firm claimed.

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