Experts believe striking a deal before Boris Johnson’s December 31 deadline is far more likely than people think amid claims Brussels when it suggests there is not enough time to reach accord. A former UK trade official told politico.eu: “On the trade side, the points of convergence are remarkably similar.” He said both sides agree that avoiding tariffs and quotas on trade in goods is desirable but it remains to be seen if the EU will compromise on its regulatory alignment demands or if the UK will bu dge on its objection to such level playing field requirements.
Sam Lowe, senior research fellow at the Centre for European Reform, said Britain accepts leaving the single market and customs union will give it more autonomy but also put up more barriers to trade.
But he said there is no longer the “have your cake and eat it” attitude of Theresa May’s government which means both sides should be more willing to budge one certain issues.
Mr Lowe told politico.eu: “Beyond the headline issues the two parties aren’t so far apart.”
Georgina Wright, senior researcher at the Institute for Government think tank, said: “A landing zone will only really become visible later on.
“Now it’s all about standing up for your interests and constituencies or at least being seen to be.
“A basic UK-EU deal in goods which covers some aspects of services is possible, but it will require both sides to compromise.”
This is despite EU warnings a no deal Brexit could be on the cards unless Britain backed down over red lines.
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8.03am update: Royal Navy on standby to protect British fishing grounds
Royal Navy warships will be deployed to protect British waters from European fishing vessels after Brexit.
Fishing minster George Eustice said the UK had taken “sufficient” steps to patrol its waters telling a Lords committee that 50 extra fishery protection officers have been recruited and there will be “aerial surveillance”.
Asked about enforcement of the fisheries policy, he explained: “We have significantly increased our enforcement capability.”
Ministers have been warned of a scenario where French fishermen blockade ports and paralyse cross-Channel trade at the end of the year.
7.30am update: Ministers hail “landmark legislation”
The Immigration Bill ending post-Brexit free movement of labour goes before the Commons today.
The Bill, hailed by ministers as “landmark legislation”, is intended to pave the way for the foundation of a points-based immigration system.
Minister for Future Borders and Immigration, Kevin Foster, said: “Today we’ve taken the momentous first step to end free movement and take back control of our borders, delivering on the people’s priorities.
“Our firmer and fairer points-based immigration system will attract the brightest and best from around the globe, prioritising those who come to Britain based on the skills they have to offer, not on the passport they hold.”
Mr Foster said that if the Bill was passed it would give the UK control over who enters the country.
The minister said the Bill will see a points-based immigration system brought in from January 1 2021.
Published at Thu, 05 Mar 2020 08:05:00 +0000