Brussels is preparing a narrow-down Brexit agreement that will deal with the hardest blows of a no-deal-Brexit. President of the European Commission Von der Leyen has presented plans for this. London and Brussels want a comprehensive trade agreement by 31 December, but they do not agree on the terms.
Yesterday Johnson and Von der Leyen agreed to hold Sunday as a deadline. Then they decide whether the conversations can continue. According to the British Foreign Minister, there is still a need for considerable movement from the EU on certain points. “Sunday will be an important day,” said Dominic Raab to Sky News.
such a trade agreement is not reached, it would have disproportionate consequences for a number of sectors, according to Von der Leyen. Thus, aircraft and lorries would stop and fishermen would no longer be able to fish. The Brussels plans must prevent this from happening.
Public order in danger
Part of the plans depend on the Britishs consent. For example, the European Commission wants the EU and the United Kingdom to agree that aircraft can continue to fly up and down. If this fails, British airspace is closed in principle to aircraft from EU countries and vice versa.
The same applies to road traffic: if there are no agreements at all, British lorries will no longer be allowed to transport goods in EU countries and vice versa. This would have such far-reaching consequences that, in the Commissions view, even public order could be jeopardised. Also, buses can no longer cross the Channel via the tunnel or on ships.
That is why Brussels wants to make an exception: lorries and buses should continue to operate in the next six months, provided that London agrees to do so.
Fishing outside own waters
The last problem that the Commission wants to solve is the most difficult one: if there are no agreements on 1 January, European and British fishermen will no longer be allowed to fish in each others waters. Brussels wants to resolve this by allowing fishing boats from both sides to come to the other side of the North Sea in the coming year. It seems unlikely that the British will agree: they almost do not fish outside their own waters, but European fishermen do.
The Commission stresses that these measures do not solve all the problems that arise if the EU and Great Britain break up without agreement. Therefore, the measures are temporary and not definitive. They give both parties a little more time to reach a full agreement.
An agreement for 1 January is becoming increasingly unlikely. Yesterday British Prime Minister Johnson and Commission President Von der Leyen sat in Brussels for another three hours, but Johnson left again without any significant progress.