Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen have agreed that Sunday will be the deadline to reach a post-Brexit trade deal, with a rumour hinting that the UK leader is considering a compromise that is likely to provoke Brexit supporters.
With both sides still acknowledging there is still a huge gap on the fishery, state aid and governance, plus, President Emmanuel Macron of France insisting on having usual access to British waters, it’s not immediately clear how a deal will be secured on Sunday if Boris Johnson isn’t looking to drop his demand.
Mr Macron insists he does not want France to have its “cake and eat it” but he is also not going to give up “his share of cake”, which he believes is giving EU fishermen the same rights in UK waters as they had when Britain was part of the bloc.
Some government sources are suggesting that the Daily Telegraph financial support could be offered to EU fishermen by Mr Johnson in a bid to secure a deal in the final days of talks.
There are reports suggesting that fishing quotas could possibly be delayed until a later date, which will stylishly permit European fishermen to continue their fishing activities in British waters from January 1, 2021, as part of a transition period.
Both the UK and the EU have been preparing contingency plans in the event of a no-deal Brexit after the transition period on December 31, as Mr Johnson is said to be confident the UK will thrive with or without an EU trade deal, even though he said a deal would be better.
Speaking on a no-deal Brexit, the Prime Minister said leaving the transition period without a deal was not what he had wanted, it would allow the UK to do exactly “what we want from January”.
“Unfortunately there are two key things where we just can’t seem to make progress. I’ve got to tell you that from where I stand now it is looking very, very likely that we will have to go for a solution that I think would be wonderful for the UK, and we’d be able to do exactly what we want from January.”
Briefing the EU leaders on the state of the negotiation yesterday morning, Ursula von der Leyen said a no-deal Brexit was more likely, “I will not give percentage odds but there is higher probability for no deal than a deal,” she said.