Tom Newton Dunn said officials on both sides were setting up a phone call, or possibly even a face-to-face meeting, in what could be a pivotal moment for the free trade talks.
In a speech at the EU summit on 15 October, Parliament President David Sassoli insisted it is now up to EU leaders to unlock the stalled negotiations on the 2021-2027 budget.
President Sassoli urged the EU heads of government to update the negotiating mandate they have given to the German Council presidency to make agreement on the EU long-term budget possible.
He noted that Parliament’s negotiators have asked for an additional €39 billion for key EU programmes that benefit Europeans and promote a sustainable recovery. “This is a paltry sum when set against an overall package worth €1.8 trillion, but one which would make an enormous difference to the citizens who will benefit from our common policies,” President Sassoli said, referring to the total amount of the seven-year budget and the Covid-19 recovery plan.
Sassoli noted that if Parliament’s compromise proposal is accepted by the Council, the budget spending ceiling will have to be raised by only €9 billion and this will bring the ceiling of those programmes to exactly the same level of spending as in the 2014-2020 period in real terms.
He said that the interest payments for the debt that the EU plans to issue to finance the recovery must be counted on top of the programme ceilings so as not to further squeeze the financing of these policies. The recovery plan “is an extraordinary commitment, and therefore the cost of the interest should be treated as an extraordinary expense as well. It should not come down to a choice between these costs and the [budget] programmes”.
The President also stressed the need for a binding timetable for the introduction of new types of budget revenue over the coming years and for flexible provisions in the budget to finance unforeseen future events.
Sassoli defended Parliament’s demand for ambitious emission reduction targets. “We must reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2030. We need a target, which acts as a bright beacon on the path to climate neutrality. Protecting the environment means new jobs, more research, more social protection, more opportunities.”
“We should use the economic stimuli provided by public institutions to radically change our growth models while guaranteeing a fair transition that works for us and for future generations. No one should be left behind,” he added.
Commenting on the ongoing negotiations on future EU-UK relations, Sassoli expressed concern about the lack of clarity from the UK side. “I hope that our UK friends use the very narrow window of opportunity that remains to work constructively towards overcoming our differences,” he said, adding that the UK should honour its commitments and remove the controversial provisions in its internal market act.
Sassoli also called for a de-escalation of tensions with Turkey. “The Turkish rhetoric is growing increasingly aggressive and the country's intervention in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is certainly not helping matters. Now is the time for the EU to fully support German mediation efforts, to stand united and speak with one voice,” he said.
Irish PM hopeful of Brexit trade deal outline by end of week
Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin said on Monday (23 November) that he hoped that the outline of a Brexit free trade deal will have emerged by the end of the week and urged unprepared smaller Irish exporters to get ready for change, whether there is a deal or no deal. The European Union’s Brexit negotiator said on Monday that big differences persisted but that both sides were pushing hard for a deal, as talks resumed, writes Padraic Halpin.
Moves will have to be made on some of the key issues such as fisheries and the so-called “level playing field”, Martin said. But he added that he had got a sense of progress from both negotiating teams, and that a presentation last week from EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was probably one of the more hopeful to date.
“I would be hopeful that, by the end of this week, that we could see the outlines of a deal, but that remains to be seen. It is down to political will, both in the United Kingdom and I’m clear the political will is there from the European Union,” Martin told reporters.
On a visit to Dublin port, Ireland’s largest freight and passenger port, Martin said that, while 94% of Irish importers from the UK and 97% of exporters had completed the necessary customs paperwork to continue trading with Britain, he was worried by the take-up among some small and medium-sized firms.
“The one concern I’d have is maybe there is a complacency among some SMEs out there that everything will be OK and ‘Sure if they get a deal, won’t it be OK?’. It will be different, and you have to get that into your heads,” Martin said. “The world will change and it will not be as seamless as it once was. The bottom line is you need to get ready. It is not too late, people just need to knuckle down now.”
Johnson and EU's von der Leyen may speak this week, Times Radio reports
EU's Barnier says 'fundamental divergences' persist in UK trade talks
The European Union’s Brexit negotiator said on Monday that big differences persisted in trade talks with Britain but that both sides were pushing hard for a deal, writes Gabriela Baczynska.
“Time is short. Fundamental divergences still remain, but we are continuing to work hard for a deal,” said the EU negotiator, Michel Barnier (pictured). Trade negotiators resumed talks on the shape of the new EU-UK relationship after a post-Brexit standstill agreement expires on Dec. 31. As in the last few weeks, the focus was still squarely on dividing up fishing quotas and ensuring fair competition for companies, including on regulating state aid.
Face-to-face talks, suspended last week after a member of the EU delegation tested positive for the new coronavirus, will resume in London “when it is safe to do so”, said a source who follows Brexit, speaking on condition of anonymity. Another source, an EU official, added: “The differences on the level playing field and fisheries remain major.” The British The Sun newspaper reported at the weekend that the negotiators were looking at a clause that would allow a renegotiation of any new fishing arrangement in several years’ time.
An EU diplomat, a third source who spoke under condition of anonymity, confirmed that such an idea was under discussion, but added that the bloc insisted on linking it to the overall trade agreement, meaning that fishing rights could only be renegotiated together with the rest of trade rules. “We need to uphold the link between fishing and trade rules, this comes in a package,” the source said. The EU official said annual renegotiation of fishing quotas was a ‘no-go’ for the 27-nation bloc. Fisheries are a particularly sensitive issue for France.
Thierry Breton, the French representative on the European Commission, the EU executive, said last week: “We shouldn’t have in the Brexit deal revision clauses in one or two years, when everything would change again. We won’t let that happen. We need to give our entrepreneurs predictability.”
Meng Wanzhou: Questions over Huawei executive’s arrest as legal battle continues
A tale of two truces broken: Azerbaijan and Western Sahara
Kazakhstan to ensure that more women are elected
Proposed France security bill leads to protests over press freedom
EAPM: Keeping tabs on lung cancer and Commission pharma strategy
Trial of ex-French president Nicolas Sarkozy begins
Bank embraces blockchain to facilitate Belt and Road trade
#EBA - Supervisor says the EU banking sector entered the crisis with solid capital positions and improved asset quality
The war in #Libya - a Russian movie reveals who is spreading death and terror
EU solidarity in action: €211 million to Italy to repair the damage of the harsh weather conditions in autumn 2019
First president of #Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev’s 80th birthday and his role in international relations
Brexit - European Commission gives market participants 18 months to reduce their exposure to UK clearing operations
Von der Leyen says two vaccines could receive market authorization before the end of the year
EU Budget: Michel says it is time to implement what was agreed in July
EU ramps up efforts in offshore renewable energy
EU makes final push to reach an agreement with the UK
EU steps up efforts to roll out antigen testing across Europe
Von der Leyen announces new contract with CureVac for 405 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine
General8 hours ago
All you need to know before travelling to Azerbaijan
EU1 day ago
EU foreign ministers express ‘deep concern’ regarding Israel’s ‘settlement activities’, welcome PA’s decision to resume co-operation with Israel
Afghanistan1 day ago
2020 Afghanistan Conference: Sustainable peace, anti-corruption and aid effectiveness on the agenda
coronavirus12 hours ago
Taiwan is crucial to the global fight against cybercrime
coronavirus1 day ago
Technological solutions are the key to tackling Europe’s second wave of Covid-19
Brexit12 hours ago
EU's Barnier says 'fundamental divergences' persist in UK trade talks
EU14 hours ago
World Jewish Congress and Vatican reaffirm friendship during forum between Jewish and Catholic officials
EU8 hours ago
Trump administration gives green light to proceed with Biden transition