3 trade deal deadlines missed, no more please
“We voted to Leave and to Take Back Control”, says Brexit Facts4EU.Org
“Prime Minister, it's Time to Take our Leave.”
© Brexit Facts4EU.Org 2020
Brexit Facts4EU.Org looks at the three EU trade deal deadlines – all missed
– and concludes that the UK must walk away if no deal is done by Thursday, when EU leaders meet
Three EU trade deal deadlines, all missed. Below we summarise how we got to this point, review Lord Frost’s latest views, and propose a line in the sand this Thursday.
Brexit Facts4EU.Org Summary
Deadlines for the UK-EU trade deal
- 30 June 2020 - fishing agreement, and 'heads of terms' for the trade deal - MISSED
- 31 July 2020 - 'heads of terms' for the trade deal - MISSED
- 15 October 2020 - 'heads of terms' for the trade deal - MISSED
- 19 November 2020 - 'heads of terms' for the trade deal agreed by EU27 leaders - ???
The lead up to the Brexit trade talks
On 04 September last year, the Government lost a vote against Labour and Tory Remainers, whose Bill then blocked the Government's intention for a 31 October 2019 deadline for Brexit talks failing which we would leave on WTO terms.
Readers will recall the weeks of shambolic Parliamentary proceedings with Tory Remainer MPs huddling on the backbenches in their whispered plottings like excited schoolchildren, and then voting with Labour to force the Prime Minister to ask the EU for a three-month extension to the already-extended Article 50 deadline.
This meant that the PM’s “31st October, do or die” pledge would be broken, and prompted the General Election in December. In that election on 12 December, Labour was trounced in its northern heartlands, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn announced he would step down, the fanatical pro-Remain LibDem leader lost her seat to the SNP, and Boris Johnson secured an 80-strong majority for his “Get Brexit Done” message.
After the General Election – the events of 2020
The PM signed the disastrous EU Withdrawal Agreement on 24 January 2020 and the UK formally ceased to be a member of the European Union at 11pm on 31 January, with a ‘Transition Period’ set to run until 31 December 2020. During this year the UK has had to endure all the obligations and costs of EU membership, but with no say in any of this. In effect, the UK has been and still is a colony state of the EU.
Formal trade negotiations began on 02 March 2020, in Brussels. This is in itself a travesty, given that the British people had voted to leave the EU three years and eight months previously, as we showed in our 3-part series which started last Thursday. These talks with the EU were difficult from the start and after only two-and-a-half months relations had deteriorated to such a degree that on 19 May David Frost wrote a damning and accusatory letter to the EU (PDF), using words such as “unworthy” and "unbalanced".
© No.10 - click to download PDF of letter
The ‘deadlines’ for the trade talks
30 June was the deadline in the Transition Period agreement for a deal to be made on fishing, and for any extension to the Transition Period to be agreed. This date was widely described as being the crunch point, after which the UK would walk away if no deal had been reached.
The 30 June deadline came and went. The PM then signalled the end of July as the deadline, after which the UK (paraphrasing) would walk away and ‘Go WTO’.
The 31 July deadline came and went. On 07 September the PM then set 15 October as the deadline, after which the UK would walk away and ‘Go WTO’.
The EU announces legal action against the UK
On 01 October the EU Commission announced it would be taking legal action in the ECJ against the UK over its ‘Internal Markets Bill’. It initiated this action when the Bill had not been (and still hasn't) been passed, thereby directly interfering in the internal Parliamentary processes of an independent country as if it were still a member state.
In the House of Commons this Bill had been famously described by Remainer Minister Brandon Lewis, clearly aided and abetted by another Conservative Remainer Bob Neill MP, as something which will “break international law in a very specific and limited way”. The Bill does not do that, as we have explained in previous articles.
The 15 October deadline came and went. On 16 October the PM halted the talks, saying that the EU had “refused to negotiate seriously for much of the last few months” and stating that the UK would be pursuing an ‘Australia-type’ trading relationship. Nevertheless, the talks then resumed on the following Tuesday, despite the EU failing to provide the assurances sought by the British side for this to happen.
The talk was then of the new deadline being this coming Thursday 19 November when all 27 leaders of EU countries meet by video-conference, due to COVID-19. Now it seems that even this deadline is set to be missed. Brexit isn't even on the agenda.
What does Lord Frost say?
Here is the full text of Lord Frost’s four tweets on Sunday 15 November:
“Arriving once again in Brussels shortly for another round of negotiations with EU and Michel Barnier this afternoon. I and our British team have been in talks almost every day since 22 October.
“We are working to get a deal, but the only one that's possible is one that is compatible with our sovereignty and takes back control of our laws, our trade, and our waters. That has been our consistent position from the start and I will not be changing it.
“There has been some progress in a positive direction in recent days. We also now largely have common draft treaty texts, though significant elements are of course not yet agreed. We will work to build on these and get an overall agreement if we can.
“But we may not succeed. Either way, as the Prime Minister Boris Johnson made clear on 16 October, people and businesses must prepare for the change that is coming on 31 December, most of which happens whether there is a deal or not.”
It is now almost impossible to achieve a UK-EU trade deal by Thursday, when the EU27 leaders meet by video-conference. Talk in Brussels is now turning to the next Summit, on 10-11 December – just three weeks before the final date for the UK’s departure. In our view this is wholly unacceptable to businesses both in the UK, and in the EU27 countries.
Any trade deal agreed at EU Council level then has to be finalised by the negotiators and then debated and ratified by the EU Parliament – and this is far from being a foregone conclusion. At the very least it will take many days for the 1500+ word document to be translated into the EU's 24 official languages. It is therefore impossible to see how any new trade deal will be in place in sufficient time for businesses and government agencies to plan for it.
The uncertainty being caused by these interminable and deadlocked trade talks together with all the uncertainty surrounding COVID regulations is highly damaging to the UK’s economy and to jobs, as well as to those of the EU27 countries.
We voted to Leave and to 'Take Back Control'. Prime Minister, it's Time to Take our Leave.
The Big Brexit Initiative - Phase Two
Regular readers will recall our 'Big Brexit Initiative' (BBI) which started on Monday 02 November. Brexit Facts4EU.Org brought together the largest-ever number of major Brexit campaigning organisations combined behind one message to Government:
“We call on you, Prime Minister, to rescind and void the Withdrawal Agreement
in order to deliver on your General Election manifesto promises of December 2019,
or else face millions of voters who will feel utterly betrayed.
Please do not let the country down.”
Now we are starting Phase Two of the Big Brexit Initiative
We hope to mobilise Brexit groups and the public in support of another simple message: "Three missed trade deal deadlines… No more please, Prime Minister. A deal this week, or walk."
We will be announcing more about this tomorrow, so please make sure you come back!
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[ Sources: No.10 | EU Council | EU Commission ] Politicians and journalists can contact us for details, as ever.
Brexit Facts4EU.Org, Tues 17 Nov 2020
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