Time available for them to come to an agreement on a Brexit dela was quickly running out, both the United Kingdom and the European Union warned each other on Monday.
The issues of state aid, enforcement and fishing still remain the largest of the stumbling blocks to a deal.
The UK is scheduled to finally officially leave the EU on December 31 with the end of the transition period of informal membership which has been in force since the formal departure of the UK form the economic bloc in January this year.
The two sides have been engaged in negotiations to strike a deal that will cover annual trade worth $1 trillion.
While stating that the UK would desire to have a Brexit deal, the country’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, currently also busy in trying to address the Covid-19 pandemic in the country which has claimed the most lives in the whole of Europe in the UK, has also said that his country could also do well without a deal. The UK had joined the EU back in 1973.
According to reports quoting an EU source, the most thorny elements of the deal that still are holding a deal to ransom are those of fisheries, economic fair play and settling disputes, during the negotiations in London which happened over the weekend and which were described by the source as being “quite difficult” and with “massive divergences” still remaining.
“We are running out of time here,” Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said.
Some EU member states were losing patience, said German Chancellor Angela Merkel echoing his remarks. “We hope that the negotiations will have a good end,” she said. “We don’t need a deal at any price and we have made this clear… A deal is in everyone’s interest.”
Despite being some success in the negotiations, “there still remains divergence on issues (such as) fisheries and the level playing field”, said Johnson’s spokesman.
“We want to try and reach a free trade agreement as soon as possible but we’ve been clear we won’t change our negotiating position,” the spokesman said.
In addition to ensuring free trade, a Brexit dela would also be instrumental to ensure peace in British-ruled Northern Ireland even though experts believe that there will definitely be some disruptions at the busiest EU-UK border points.
Border posts will face problems if there is no deal along with turmoil in the financial markets and disruption in the delicate supply chains of companies that span al across Europe. This will add on to the problems for the global economy which is struggling to tackle the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“There are reasons for determination,” said EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier when asked whether there was reason for optimism.
A failure to agree on fishing rights could wreck a deal, Coveney told Ireland’s Newstalk Radio. “If there isn’t an agreement on this, the whole thing could fall on the back of it and that’s the worry,” he said.
(Adapted from Reuters.com)