Brexit deadline is ditched as both sides agree to go “extra mile”

Author : Colm Quinn

Source : Foreign policy

A Sunday deadline has been pushed past even as the EU and U.K. seem no closer to a deal.
16:21, 14 December 2020


Brexit talks to go “extra mile”

Brexit negotiations are to continue through this week as European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson agreed to keep talking. In joint a statement issued on Sunday, the pair said it was “responsible at this point to go the extra mile.”

As deadline after deadline has been missed in Brexit negotiations between the European Union and United Kingdom, you’d be forgiven for thinking that an extra mile might be underestimating the actual distance between the two sides. Especially because, after months of discussions, a dispute still remains on the issue of fisheries and the so-called level playing field.

The deadline that cried wolf. In the financial world, the ever-shifting ultimatums have led to cynicism. “If these talks fail, my bet would be that there will be an effort to restart them next year,” Marc Chandler, chief market strategist at Bannockburn Global, told Bloomberg, adding “deadlines don’t matter.”

Related: Brexit: UK urges businesses to prepare for end of transition

Supermarket jitters. Beyond financial markets, the literal meat and potatoes of a no-deal Brexit remains a concern. Grocery stores in the United Kingdom have reportedly been told by the British government to begin stockpiling items. “There was a conversation a week ago when ministers said prepare for no-deal. This weekend the message is that it’s no-deal,” one supermarket consultant told the Sunday Times.

Royal delays. Cultural totems are also having to readjust to cope with the sinking feeling of a no-deal Brexit. The recording of Queen Elizabeth’s Christmas message—considered as much of an institution as NFL football is on Thanksgiving day—has had to be pushed back from its usual filming date in mid-December in order to deal with the uncertainty of Brexit negotiations.

A fight over fish? The U.K. ministry of defense has threatened to roll out the big guns once the Brexit transition period ends, saying it would activate “numerous patrol vessels across military and marine organizations that are used to provide physical presence, deterrence and inspection capability,” suggesting a standoff over fishing rights is on the cards.

Related: Post-Brexit trade: Another London-Brussels negotiation failed

European Council President Charles Michel scoffed at the likelihood of conflict breaking out as a result of a no-deal outcome. “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,” he said.

Read the original text at Foreign Policy.


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