Brexit news latest – EU sets out NO-DEAL contingency plan after Boris talks collapse with just 4 days to break stalemate

THE EU has laid out it's no-deal Brexit contingency plan it hopes will allow planes to keep flying and fishing to continue after December 31.

With hopes of a trade deal fading after Boris Johnson and Ursula Von Der Leyen ended talks without agreement last night, the EU has for the first time made clear exactly what no-deal would look like their end.

The EU's short-term contingency plan includes new regulations to allow a six-month period to "ensure the provision of certain air services" between the UK and EU and for road freight and passenger transport to continue,

Hopes of a deal now rest on UK and EU negotiators somehow breaking the deadlock before Sunday – the date both parties have agreed marks the final deadline for an agreement to be reached.

Follow our Brexit live blog for all the latest news and updates…

  • Patrick Knox

    BUSY BORIS SKIPS WEEKLY AUDIENCE WITH MONARCH

    The Prime Minister's audience with the Queen was postponed this week to allow him to focus on the post-Brexit trade deal talks.

    Boris Johnson usually telephones the monarch each Wednesday evening to update her on Government matters, but there was no record of the audience in the Court Circular.

    Buckingham Palace said the Queen would speak with the PM next week.

    A Palace spokesman said: "The audience was postponed due to the Prime Minister's busy diary. One is planned for next week."

  • Patrick Knox

    WHAT ARE THE EU'S CONTINGENCY PLANS TO MITIGATE A NO-DEAL BREXIT?

    The EU's proposals its fishing boats would continue to enjoy access to UK waters during the coming year.

    The bloc says the measures could stay in place until December 31 2021, or until a fisheries agreement with the UK has been concluded – whichever is earlier.

    It is proposing that basic connectivity for road freight and passenger transport continue for six months.

    For plane travel it is suggesting a measure to allow the provision of certain air services between the UK and EU for six months.

  • Debbie White

    EU UNVEILS 'BACK-UP PLAN' FOR NO DEAL

    The EU’s executive has today laid out contingency plans for a ‘no-deal’ Brexit at the end of the year.

    These are aimed at limiting disruption to air traffic, and road and rail travel after talks between British and EU leaders failed to break an impasse.

    The European Commission also proposed that Britain and the EU continue to offer reciprocal access to their fishing waters for up to a year.

    Britain formally left the EU in January, but has since been in a transition period during which it remains in the EU single market and customs union.

    This means that rules on trade, travel and business have stayed the same – for now.

  • Patrick Knox

    DOWNING STREET ADMITS PRICES MAY RISE IN NO-DEAL SCENARIO

    It pointed to comments from Environment Secretary George Eustice suggesting that the impact of tariffs could add around 2 per cent  to food prices if there was not a trade deal.

    The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "He said there would be some impact on prices, probably less than 2, as the result of tariffs.

    "It would be higher on some things like beef and pork but they make up a relatively small proportion of the overall average shopping basket."

    The Government had put "extensive preparations" in place for the end of the transition period "to ensure that we continue to have the resilient supply chain that we already have".

    Asked whether families should ensure their fridges were well stocked on December 31, the spokesman said: "We have a resilient supply chain, that will continue to be the case after the transition period ends, whether that's with a free-trade agreement or otherwise."

  • Patrick Knox

    BRUSSELS STEPS UP NO-DEAL PLANNING AS TRADE TALKS DEADLINE LOOMS

    Talks on a post-Brexit trade deal are unlikely to be extended beyond Sunday unless the European Union drops some of its key demands, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has admitted.

    Boris Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen agreed that a decision on the future of the negotiations will be taken by the end of the weekend.

    With the prospect of a no-deal outcome, Brussels has stepped up its preparations and held out the prospect of emergency agreements aimed at keeping planes flying and lorries crossing to the Continent.

    One of the contingency measures proposed by von der Leyen is for EU fishing boats to continue to enjoy access to UK waters during 2021, an area which has been one of the main sticking points in the trade negotiations.

  • Patrick Knox

    PRIME MINISTER ARRIVED BACK TO DOWNING STREET IN THE ‘EARLY HOURS’

    Following his dinner meeting in Brussels, Boris Johnson's official spokesman said there was "nothing agreed yet" on whether he would travel again over the weekend to meet with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen or vice-versa.

    Asked about Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab's comments that the talks could go on past Sunday if there are only fine details to sort out, the spokesman reiterated that Johnson and von der Leyen had committed to reaching a "firm decision" by the end of the weekend.

    The two chief negotiators, the UK's Lord Frost and the EU's Michel Barnier, will resume talks this afternoon, the No 10 spokesman confirmed.

  • Patrick Knox

    FOOD PRICES TO ROCKET SHOULD TRADE TALKS FAIL

    Major supermarkets in the UK have warned that a 'No Deal' Brexit may mean food price increases and food shortages in the UK. 

    Brexit negotiations are continuing with a 'No Deal' looking more likely than ever.

  • Patrick Knox

    DECISION-DAY

    European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said a decision on the future of Brexit talks would be made on Sunday.

    Arriving at the European Council summit, she said: "I had a very long conversation yesterday night with Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

    "It was a good conversation but it is difficult. We are willing to grant access to the single market to our British friends – it is the largest single market in the world.

    "But the conditions have to be fair. They have to be fair for our workers and for our companies, and this fine balance of fairness has not been achieved so far.

    "Our negotiators are still working and we will take a decision on Sunday."

  • Patrick Knox

    IRISH PREMIER UPBEAT ABOUT TRADE DEAL 

    Micheal Martin has said that a post-Brexit agreement was "within reach".

    He said: "It makes sense to get a trade deal. I'm very aware of the difficulties around a level playing field, the dispute resolution mechanism and fisheries.

    "I didn't expect a breakthrough last evening. 

    “I think the fact that they met for quite a lengthy period of time and that frank exchange of views in itself is a good thing, and the fact that the negotiators are mandated to go back in again and try to break the logjam.

    "Dialogue is key and both teams have given themselves a deadline of this Sunday, and I think the key to unlocking this is to stand back and look at the overall picture here.”

  • Patrick Knox

    LITHUANIA CALLS FOR CONTINGENCY PLANS SHOULD BREXIT TALKS FAIL

    The Baltic country’s president Gitanas Nauseda said the European Union needed to be ready to put no-deal plans in place from January 1.

    Arriving at a summit in Brussels, he said: "So far, negotiations are still in the process and we hope very much that we will have a deal."

    But if not, contingency plans should be in place "and we have to be ready to implement it from the first minute".

  • Patrick Knox

    WHAT HAS BEEN GOING WITH THE BREXIT TALKS?

    Months of trade talks have failed to bridge the gaps on three issues: fishing rights, fair-competition rules and the governance of future disputes.

    While both sides want a deal, they have fundamentally different views of what it entails. 

    The EU fears Britain will slash social and environmental standards and pump state money into UK industries, becoming a low-regulation economic rival on the bloc's doorstep hence the demand for strict level playing field guarantees in exchange for access to its markets.

    The UK government sees Brexit as about sovereignty and taking back control of the country's laws, borders and waters. It claims the EU is trying to bind Britain to the bloc's rules indefinitely.

  • Patrick Knox

    EU TRADE TALKS FACE 'MOMENT OF FINALITY' ON WEEKEND

    Britain's foreign minister Dominic Raab said negotiations on a trade deal with the European Union will reach a moment of finality this weekend, with both sides assessing chances of an agreement as slim.

    To prepare for a possible no-deal exit in January. 1, the EU today proposed four contingency measures to make sure air and road traffic can continue as smoothly as possible for the next six months.

    It also proposes that fishermen will still have access to each other's waters for up to a year, to limit the commercial damage of a no-deal split. 

    The plans depend on the U.K. offering similar initiatives.

    “Our responsibility is to be prepared for all eventualities," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.

  • Patrick Knox

    BORIS HAILS 'FANTASTIC' SINGAPORE DEAL 

    The PM tweeted: "This is an important part of our vision of the UK trading with a network of dynamic nations across Asia-Pacific,."

    International Trade Secretary Liz Truss, in Singapore to sign the pact, praised the affluent financial hub of 5.7 million for its leadership in free trade.

    She said: "Now the United Kingdom is back as an independent trading nation, we are free to join this campaign.

    "Singapore is already the UK's largest trade and investment partner in ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), while the UK is Singapore's top investment destination in Europe."

  • Patrick Knox

    EU PROPOSES WAYS TO AVOID BREXIT DISRUPTION WITHOUT DEAL

    The European Union set out short-term measures to limit disruption to air traffic, road and rail transport, as well as fisheries, if Britain leaves the bloc without a trade accord by December. 31.

    It proposed keeping "certain air services" between Britain and the EU for up to six months, provided London ensures the same. 

    Basic connections by road freight and for road passengers would also continue for six months as long as it was reciprocal. 

    Separate regulation, if approved by EU member states, would allow the Channel Tunnel road and rail link to continue for two months.

  • Patrick Knox

    NOT ENOUGH TRAINED CUSTOMS AGENTS 

    MIchael Gove claimed last month that there had been a fourfold increase in private-sector capacity to process the customs forms that companies exporting to the EU must fill in after the end of the year.

    But official figures suggest this could result in up to 100 million consignments being sent across the border without the right paperwork or left waiting for the correct clearance.

  • Patrick Knox

    GLOBAL BRITAIN

    UK trade minister Liz Truss and Singapore's trade minister Chan Chun Sing have signed a free trade agreement between their two countries. 

  • Patrick Knox

    BRITONS MAY NEED VISAS TO STAY IN EU MORE THAN 3 MONTHS -FRENCH MINISTER

    British citizens may need visas for stays in the European Union longer than three months after Brexit from January 1, French European Affairs junior minister Clement Beaune said on Thursday.

    Beaune said the matter was still being negotiated.

    "For stays of more than three months, there may be visa applications, professional or other, and this is a point that is still under discussion", Beaune told reporters.

    "Whatever happens on January 1, we will be in a different universe. We are ready," Beaune added.

  • Patrick Knox

    HONDA HOPES TO RESUME UK CAR OUTPUT ON MONDAY AFTER PARTS SHORTAGE

    Japanese carmaker Honda said it hoped to restart production at its British factory on Monday after temporarily halting output because of transport-related delays that have caused a shortage of parts.

    Britain's major container ports such as Felixstowe have been hit this year by the pandemic which has disrupted global trade, leaving containers in the wrong place and goods stocked up in the ports.

    In recent weeks that situation has been compounded by the arrival of Christmas stock and goods being stockpiled before Brexit, straining the normal free flowing movement, as London and Brussels try to thrash out a trade deal before December. 31.

    The Japanese automaker said on Wednesday it had halted production at its Swindon site in southern England, where it made just under 110,000 Civic cars last year. It is due to permanently close the plant in 2021.

  • Patrick Knox

    EU CHIEF PUBLISHES NO DEAL EMERGENCY PLAN

    Ursula von der Leyen today published a back-up plan to protect road and air travel and fishing rights if Britain leaves the union without a trade deal.

    "Negotiations are still ongoing. However, given that the end of the transition is very near, there is no guarantee that if and when an agreement is found, it can enter into force on time," she said.

    "Our responsibility is to be prepared for all eventualities, including not having a deal in place with the UK on 1 January 2021. That is why we are coming forward with these measures today."

  • Patrick Knox

    SUPERMARKET GIANT STOCKPILING

    TESCO’S chairman has admitted it has stockpiled long-life goods in preparation for possible supply disruption at the end of the Brexit transition period. 

    Speaking hours before PM Boris Johnson was due in Brussels for last ditch trade deal talks, John Allan was unable to rule out the chance of temporary shortages in some fresh foods from January 1 but added they should only be for "a limited period".

  • Patrick Knox

    LABOUR URGES MINISTERS TO 'WAKE UP' OVER PORTS CHAOS

    The party said businesses have been "sounding the alarm for weeks" about difficulties importing goods and warned that current problems could be "the tip of the iceberg".

    It urged Business Secretary Alok Sharma to go to Parliament to explain how the Government will support retailers and demanded that Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove set out a "rapid action plan" to reduce congestion at ports.

    Lucy Powell, Labour's shadow minister for business and consumers, said: "Ministers have to wake up and listen to businesses which have been sounding the alarm for weeks about the problems at ports and the risk of stock shortages.

    "This disruption couldn't come at a worse time of year, with businesses reliant on keeping their shelves stocked to cash in on crucial Christmas trade after months of really difficult conditions.

    "Michael Gove must listen to industry and take urgent action to do what he can to ease the bottlenecks at British ports, or Gove will be the Grinch who stole Christmas.”

  • Patrick Knox

    HOUSE COULD SIT UNTIL CHRISTMAS EVE IF NEEDED TO PASS BREXIT BILL 

    The House of Commons could sit as late as Christmas Eve should it be required to pass a Brexit bill, Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said.

    Under current plans, the Commons will stop sitting on December 21, but he told Sky News recess could be delayed.

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen agreed that a "firm decision" about the future of the negotiations should be made by Sunday following three hours of talks in Brussels.

  • Patrick Knox

    BANK OF ENGLAND WARNS OF LONG-TERM DAMAGE

    The Office for Budget Responsibility has suggested that a no-deal outcome could wipe 2 per cent off gross domestic product, a measure of the size of the economy, in 2021.

    Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey has warned the long-term damage caused by a no-deal situation would be worse than the economic hit from coronavirus, and Tesco chairman John Allan has suggested food bills could rise by as much as 5 per cent as a result of the tariffs and disruption.

    Foriegn Secretary Dominic Raab sought to play down the impact on food prices if the UK defaults to World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules with the EU, but acknowledged there will be "bumps along the road" if there is no deal.

  • Patrick Knox

    CRUNCH TALKS CONTINUE TODAY

    UK chief negotiator Lord Frost and his EU counterpart, Michel Barnier, will reconvene in Brussels today to begin their final push to salvage what has been almost a year of wrangling over a trade deal.

    After the leaders' three-hour dinner, a Number 10 source said it was unclear whether the divide between Brussels and the UK could be bridged.

    "The PM does not want to leave any route to a possible deal untested," said the source, as negotiators were given a fresh mandate to thrash out a deal before transitional trading arrangements end on New Year’s Eve.

  • Patrick Knox

    POST-BREXIT TRADE TALKS UNLIKELY TO BE EXTENDED BEYOND SUNDAY – RAAB

    Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told the BBC that, while he could not rule out a further extension in the talks process, it is important to have "finality".

    He said: "I think it's unlikely but I can't categorically exclude it."

    Boris Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen held crunch talks over dinner in Brussels on Wednesday aimed at breaking the deadlock, but Downing Street warned afterwards that "very large gaps" remained.

    The pair agreed that a decision on the future of the negotiations will be taken by the end of the weekend.

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