Brexit: Barnier gives EU diplomats ‘very gloomy’ assessment of progress in UK-EU trade talks – politics live | Politics


Good morning. After numerous false starts (and apologies for any reporting on this that may have been misleading), we have finally, finally arrived at what will be the decisive week for the UK-EU trade talks, or even the decisive 24/48 hours. Or at least that’s Whitehall consensus. A deal agreed in the next day or so could be approved by the EU summit starting on Thursday and then rushed through parliament next week. Other timetables would be conceivable, but much more problematic.

Here is our overnight story on the talks.

This morning Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, has been updated EU ambassadors in Brussels on developments. Here is the latest updated filed by Reuters within the last few minutes.

British and European Union negotiators have still not bridged gaps on the three main issues standing in the way of a post-Brexit trade deal and the talks could still go either way, an EU diplomat said on Monday.

Despite intensive negotiations until late last night, the gaps on level playing field, governance and fisheries are still not bridged. The outcome is still uncertain, it can still go both ways,” the diplomat said.

He was speaking after a briefing for EU member states’ ambassadors to Brussels by the bloc’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier.

“EU-UK negotiations have entered the endgame, time is running out quickly,” the diplomat said. “The EU is ready to go the extra mile to agree on a fair, sustainable and balanced deal for citizens in the EU and UK. It is for the UK to chose between such a positive outcome or a no deal outcome.”

And these are from RTE’s Europe editor, Tony Connelly.

Tony Connelly

BREAKING: Ireland’s foreign minister Simon Coveney says EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier has given a “very gloomy, downbeat” assessment of the prospects for a deal to EU ambassadors

December 7, 2020

Tony Connelly

“He is very cautious about the ability to make progress today”

December 7, 2020

Tony Connelly

Coveney told @rtenews “there really was no progress made yesterday, so we’ve got to try to make a breakthrough at some point today”

December 7, 2020

Here is the agenda for the day.

12pm: Downing Street is expected to hold a lobby briefing.

12.15pm: Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, is expected to hold a coronavirus briefing.

12.15pm: Vaughan Gething, the Welsh health minister, holds a coronavirus briefing.

After 3.30pm: MPs resume their debate on the internal market bill. The government is reinserting the clauses taken out in the House of Lords allowing the UK to over-rule parts of the Brexit withdrawal agreement.

Early evening: Boris Johnson is due to hold talks with Ursula von der Leyen, the European commission president, about the UK-EU trade talks.

Also, Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office minister, and Maroš Šefčovič, the European commission vice president, are holding a meeting in Brussels. They are co-chairs of the joint committee, the body set up to oversee the implementation of the withdrawal agreement.

Politics Live is now doubling up as the UK coronavirus live blog and, given the way the Covid crisis eclipses everything, this will continue for the foreseeable future. But we will be covering non-Covid political stories too, like Brexit, and when they seem more important or more interesting, they will take precedence.

Here is our global coronavirus live blog.

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