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#Brexit - 'Time for a People’s Vote’

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Commenting ahead of the vote on Tuesday 15 January in the UK parliament on Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal, the co-chairs of the European Green Party Reinhard Bütikofer and Monica Frassoni said: “The European Green Party is united in its conviction that the UK’s EU membership makes Europe stronger and more relevant in the world. We are also convinced that the people of Britain should be consulted with a ‘People’s Vote' to see if they agree with the deal negotiated by Theresa May. 

“There is too much at stake for both Europe and the UK to cut the cord that has kept us together for the past 45 years without asking the people.”

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Sunak says he hopes for a Brexit deal but not at any price

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British Finance Minister Rishi Sunak has said there is genuine progress in Brexit talks with the European Union, but that it would be better to walk away from a bad trade deal than tie Britain’s hands in the future, writes Kate Holton.

Sunak, one of the few members of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s senior ministerial team to have emerged from the COVID pandemic with an enhanced reputation, was thought to be one of the leading voices in the cabinet who wanted a free trade deal with the EU.

He told the Sunday Times that he hoped Britain and the European Union would secure an agreement.

“Every day I am reviewing bits of text, so there is genuine progress,” he said. “Certainly, it would be preferable to have a deal.”

But he added: “The major impact on our economy is the coronavirus. It’s absolutely not (a question of doing) a deal at any price.

“If we don’t get a deal, why is that? It is because they are refusing to compromise on what are some completely reasonable and very transparent principles that we’ve laid out from the beginning. We are not asking for super-special treatment.”

The two sides have been locked in talks for months and, while officials say they have made progress in the last few days, a substantial amount still needs to be done for an agreement to be in place and ratified by the year-end deadline.

Sunak gave the interview ahead of a spending review on Wednesday when he will set out the government’s spending over the next year, after COVID-19 blew a £200 billion ($266bn) hole in Britain’s finances.

He said he hoped that, by next spring, he would be able to start thinking beyond the current need to support the economy and jobs, and considering how he could return the public finances to a sustainable level.

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Brexit deal still snagged on three main issues, EU envoys told

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The EU and Britain are very close to agreement on most issues as time runs out for a trade deal but they are still at odds over fishing rights, guarantees of fair competition and ways to solve future disputes, an EU official told ambassadors in Brussels, write  and

“We are both close and far away. It seems that we are very close to agreement on most issues but differences on the three contentious issues persist,” a senior EU diplomat said after ambassadors were briefed on Friday by an EU negotiator.

The chief Brexit negotiators suspended direct talks on Thursday after a member of the EU team tested positive for COVID-19, but officials continued working remotely to clinch an EU-UK trade deal that would come into force in just six weeks.

A second EU diplomat said of the three main sticking points between negotiators: “They still need their time. Some things on the level playing field have moved, albeit very very slowly. Fisheries are not really moving anywhere right now.”

An EU official, who is directly involved in the talks with UK: “Both of these are still very stuck.”

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EU makes final push to reach an agreement with the UK

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Asked about progress on negotiations between the EU and UK on their future relationship, Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said the negotiations were intensifying with a final push being made to reach an agreement. 

Chief negotiator Michel Barnier updated European commissioners at their meeting today (18 November). Dombrovskis said there were still important elements to be resolved.

Dombrovskis said that the European Union had seen many deadlines come and go, but added that there is one deadline which was not moveable, 1 January 2021, when the transition period ends. 

He added that the European Commission would continue to work intensively towards the goal of reaching an agreement with the UK.

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