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'It's in Ireland's towering national interest to have a deal' Barry Andrews MEP #Brexit

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Following last week’s European Council, President of the European Council Charles Michel, Vice President of the European Commission Maroš Šefčovič and EU Chief negotiator for relations with the UK, Michel Barnier presented the conclusions to MEPs.

EU Reporter interviewed Irish Fianna Fail MEP, Barry Andrews about the most recent developments. He said that following the European Council there had been a bit of a rocky weekend with Boris Johnson claiming that the negotiations were over. He welcomed that the Joint Committee meeting, established under the Withdrawal Agreement, had been successful and was optimistic that the talks would resume later in the week - which they have. 

Andrews said: “It is in Ireland's towering national interest that we have a deal. And the sooner that happens, the better so the European Parliament could get on with the job of ratification.”

Asked about whether he thought the UK would be willing to make the compromises that the European Union are insisting on, Andrews said anybody who's looked at the UK economy will recognize that, without a deal, the UK economy can be very badly affected, and particularly the areas that voted for Boris Johnson a year ago. He said: “I think he knows as well as everybody that without a deal, it's gonna be very damaging for the UK.”

He said that the Parliament has total trust in the EU’s Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier.

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Britain expects 'very significant' week for Brexit talks as clock ticks down

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Britain and the European Union are heading into a “very significant” week, British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said on Sunday (29 November), as talks over a trade deal enter their final days with serious differences yet to be resolved, writes .

EU negotiator Michel Barnier told reporters in London that “works continue, even on Sunday” on his way to a negotiating session, as both sides look for a deal to prevent disruption to almost $1 trillion (752 billion pounds) of trade at the end of December.

“This is a very significant week, the last real major week, subject to any further postponement... we’re down to really two basic issues,” Raab told the BBC.

Despite missing several self-imposed deadlines, the negotiations have failed to bridge differences on competition policy and the distribution of fishing rights.

But Britain’s transitional EU exit agreement - during which the bloc’s rules continue to apply - expires on 31 December, and Britain says it will not seek any extension. A deal would have to be ratified by both sides, leaving little time for new delay.

“The bottom line is... in the ordinary course of things we need to get a deal done over the next week or maybe another couple of days beyond that,” Raab told Times Radio in a separate interview.

Earlier, he had signalled some progress on the ‘level playing field’ provisions which look to ensure fair competition between Britain and the EU, and said fishing remained the most difficult issue to solve.

Despite accounting for 0.1% of the British economy, fishing rights have become a totemic issue for both sides. Britain has so far rejected EU proposals and remains adamant that as an independent nation it must have full control of its waters.

“The EU have just got to recognize the point of principle here,” Raab told Times Radio.

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Brexit: ‘Frankly, I cannot tell you if there will be a deal’ von der Leyen 

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Addressing the European Parliament this morning (25 November) European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that she couldn’t say whether the EU would be able to reach a deal with the UK on its future relationship before the end of the year. She said the EU side was willing to be creative, but that it would not put the integrity of the Single Market in question. 

While there has been genuine progress on a number of important questions, such as law enforcement, judicial co-operation, social security coordination and transport, von der Leyen said that the three ‘crucial’ topics of level playing field, governance and fisheries remained to be resolved.

The EU is seeking robust mechanisms to ensure that competition with the UK remains free and fair over time. This is not something that the EU can skate over, given its proximity and the scale of existing trade ties and integration in EU supply chains. The UK has to date been ambiguous about how it would deviate from European norms that it played no small role in shaping, but the logic of Brexit supporters is that the UK could become more competitive through deregulation; a point of view that obviously makes some EU partners a little ill at ease.

‘Trust is good, but law is better’

The need for clear legal commitments and remedies has become starker following the UK’s decision to introduce an Internal Market Bill that includes provisions that would allow it to deviate from parts of the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol. Von der Leyen said that strong governance was essential in "the light of recent experience".

Fisheries

On fisheries, von der Leyen said that no-one questioned the UK’s sovereignty of its own waters, but held that the EU needed "predictability and guarantees for fishermen and fisherwomen who have been sailing in these waters for decades, if not centuries".

Von der Leyen thanked the parliament for their support and understanding in the difficulties such a late agreement presented to them. A final deal will be several hundred pages long and need to be legally scrubbed and translators; this is unlikely to be ready by the next plenary session of the European Parliament in mid-December. It is generally acknowledged that if a deal is to be arrived at a plenary on 28 December will be needed. Von der Leyen said: “We will walk those last miles together.”

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UK will remain global leader for asset management after Brexit: Sunak

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British Finance Minister Rishi Sunak (pictured) said on Tuesday (24 November) that he was determined that the United Kingdom would remain a global leader for asset management after Brexit, writes William Schomberg.

“We’re beginning a new relationship with the EU. And as we do so, we are determined that the UK will remain a global leader for asset management,” Sunak said in comments to a conference organized by The Investment Association, an industry group.

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