WEARY British trade negotiators munched mince pies and glugged mulled wine last night amid fears they are stuck in Brussels for Christmas.
Any Brexit deal is “still days away” the UK side warned yesterday amid continued deadlock over EU demands for SIX more years of fishing rights.
Yet another breakthrough deadline was missed last night after both sides simply ignored loud warnings from the EU Parliament that a deal must be done by Sunday night or they would not rubber stamp it.
A “tortured” weekend of talks failed to break the deadlock over “unreasonable” demands from the EU for a further six years of access to UK waters for their fishermen.
That has been whittled down from a decade in snail paced haggling, but the UK has consistently rejected an offer from Brussels to cut their annual take by about a quarter.
Britain has offered a three to four year phasing out and wants closer to 60 per cent of stock back in that time.
Last night the knackered Brits were refuelled on mince pies and mulled wine served up by the UK ambassador SIr Tim Barrow as it dawned on them that talks could run through next week.
ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS EU TALKS
“A landing zone is there but it could take the rest of the year to get there” one UK source said last night.
Another added: “we have made clear we can carry on talking past Christmas and wrap this up and get it through our Parliament in a day. So this has some road to go yet.”.
Both the EU and the UK have been distracted by Covid again as talks reach their endgame, but Lord Frost and EU counterpart Michel Barnier plan to go toe to toe on fishing numbers again on Monday.
Last night Michel Barnier repeated coded hints that the EU must be able to punish Brexit Britain if they become too competitive, tweeting enigmatically: “we should both be able to act when our interests are at stake.”
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