Brexit is still in edge closer to failure as new deadline blown
EU and UK trade talks came under renewed pressure on Monday evening as transport chaos triggered by fears around a more contagious variant of the coronavirus in Britain overshadowed efforts to reach a Brexit deal.
On January 1, Britain is due to leave the EU single market and customs union. With only 10 days to go, hopes of securing an accord took a blow after another deadline passed.
EU and British negotiators remained in Brussels, with talks still at a deadlock over the right of European crew to continue fishing in Britain’s rich waters, as well as concerns over fair trade rules.
Without a deal, Britain’s links to the European Union end at midnight on December 31 (11:00 pm UK time) with a new tariff barrier that will sharpen the big shock of unravelling a half-century of EU membership.
As long as a deal is found in the next hours or days, European sources said this could involve a provisional implementation of a pact with MEPs having their say in January.
Whatever the case, the EU has finalised interim plans to manage road and air transport for six months and fishing for a year in the event of a no deal — but these would also require an agreement from the UK to reciprocate.
The talks in Brussels continued as more than 50 countries closed their airways to Britain, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said a highly contagious mutation of the coronavirus was spreading in the UK.