Hopes of striking a Brexit trade deal with the United Kingdom by Friday or during the weekend were expressed by European Union diplomats on Thursday. In the next two days, review of progress is to be done by EU officials, said negotiators.
While saying the he believed “good progress” was being made at talks, a British minister also cautioned that any deal that was not in the interest of the UK would not be agreed to by London.
Britain will officially completely leave the European Union on December 31 after the completion of a transition period when the country continued to enjoy the benefits of informal membership of the EU. This period had started with the official departure of the UK from the UK in January this year. The two sides have been in negotiations to secure a trade deal that involves almost $1 trillion in annual trade.
Analysts and experts said that after weeks of impasse over three main issues – fisheries, economic fair play and disputes settlements, a positive sign in the trade negotiations were suggestions of several EU officials that overall progress of the talks will be soon reviewed by the negotiators.
A deal could be sealed as early as Friday or within the weekend by the EU’s Michel Barnier and Britain’s David Frost, said reports quoting three EU diplomats.
A free trade agreement between Britain and the EU will mean continuation of tariff free trade between Britain and the 27-nation EU form the beginning of 2021. In recent months however there have been several occasions when hopes were raised about a Brexit deal but were followed by disappointment as negotiations failed to strike a deal.
Borders between the EU and Britain would get clogged if no Brexit deal is secured, in addition to causing turmoil in the financial markets and causing disruption in supply chains of companies that are spread all across the EU. A Brexit trade deal is also important for the turnaround of the global economy form the hit of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It’s the time to hold our nerve and trust (Barnier). And I believe if we do that, there’s a good chance that we can get a deal across the line in the next few days,” Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney told Ireland’s Newstalk Radio.
“There will be no further extensions. There will be no extra time.”
In his comments to the media, a mixture of optimism and caution was sounded by the British Education Secretary Gavin Williamson.
“I’m confident from what I hear that progress, good progress is being made but we’re going to do a deal that is right for Britain, if such a deal is available,” he said. “If such a deal isn’t available then we’re not going to sign up to something that is to our detriment.”
(Adapted from Reuters.com)