Has the EU really only just discovered that fishing is the UK's strongest card? Problem is fishing communities in both UK and EU are not overly keen on being traded off...
Here's a fuller (pessimistic) take from @tconnellyRTE on the state of UK-EU talks. rte.ie/news/brexit/20…
The UK version of EU-UK talks remains more optimistic than that in the EU. theguardian.com/politics/2020/…
Number 10 appears to have just noticed that the EU weren't buying the idea there had been much progress.

Meanwhile the EU wait to see whether the UK have decided on the deal yet.

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More from @DavidHenigUK

16 Oct
"I still can't make a decision" - UK PM

Because there still isn't an easy path he can take.
A PM desperate for the EU to resolve his problem of a deal acceptable to them and the Brexit ultras. Which they can't.

That Australia style deal? Well Australia doesn't have a car industry, and we won't have one if there's no deal.

Just words without meaning.

And as I've said before the EU wouldn't even offer Canada the same deal now as they gave in 2020. Not to mention us asking for more. Not only does trade policy move on, but it is always different for neighbours.
Read 8 tweets
16 Oct
At a rough guess EU leaders have become bored and irritated by optimistic London pronouncements about a deal not backed up by a willingness to make significant movements on substance, indeed with the internal market bill, backsliding. theguardian.com/politics/2020/…
Not perhaps the EU's finest negotiating moment either, for while we know fish is a domestic sensitivity the UK maintaining status quo on waters always was a non-starter. But removing the word intensive about future talks appears to have had an effect. thetimes.co.uk/article/back-d…
But as before, still mainly for the UK to show we can accept the deal on offer, and drop the internal market bill threats, before the last minute fish haggle. Over to the PM to make the decision...
Read 6 tweets
15 Oct
Trade deal or not, the Brexit dream is dying. Trade deal and we spent the coming years in a push-pull relationship with the EU over economic alignment. No-deal and we intensify the battles over the future of the UK.

It wasn't supposed to be like this.
The fundamental problems being those piloting Brexit assuming the EU would provide the access we wanted with few responsibilities, and failing to create any national consensus with business and devolved authorities.

They assumed they could do it even when advised otherwise.
At the basic level the UK will still have greater freedom outside the EU. But it will be far from the dream because the US and EU have demands over regulation in trade deals, and trans-national business supply chains use their regulations. Watch EU data adequacy in particular.
Read 8 tweets
14 Oct
What's new? Nothing. But therein lies the problem, the evidence suggests the UK government thought a small amount of movement on state aid, some shared principles, would move the dial on talks. Always looked unrealistic to this observer. Further movement needed.
There's no major disagreement on handling UK talks in the EU beyond usual backchat, fish will be difficult but seems achievable. We just wait on the PM making the decision to cut this deal or not. Unfortunately making timely difficult decisions is not a strength of his...
I think the UK government is stuck in indecision. Going for the deal means upsetting Brexit ultras / dropping parts of the Internal Market Bill. No-deal shows a PM who couldn't get a deal, damages manufacturing etc. Keep going and hope something turns up.
Read 9 tweets
13 Oct
Well the deal is there, just requiring UK to back down on level playing field, governance, internal market bill, the EU on fishing, and both to agree on a new form of dispute settlement for two parties who don't trust each other.

If you're thinking therefore not that easy...
Oh, and after backing down the PM has to repeat the trick of claiming victory, and the ERG have to be bought off again, and the French fishermen not kick-off, and and...
It is worth noting that some Brexit jacobins currently advocate ending talks with the EU, tearing up the Withdrawal Agreement, and essentially isolating the UK from the EU and ensuring no trade deal with the US. Will the PM be prepared to face them down? cityam.com/with-friends-l…
Read 8 tweets
12 Oct
So much being written today about UK food and trade, so time for the thread. In short, factually:

- reasonable for the US to want us to accept their food
- reasonable (& broadly WTO compliant) for us to set conditions
- the lack of evidence, plus distractions, is troubling 1/
Start with the reason we're having a food and trade debate, easy to forget when distractions are thrown in around protectionism and developing countries. The US want as a price for a trade deal a guarantee their food can be sold in the UK (i.e. repeal any current bans). 2/
The US are behaving in trade talks just like the EU. As the bigger player, an insistence on their rules. A sign of our debased UK debate is that few make this equivalence, or indeed ask why the UK doesn't do similar to smaller countries? 3/
Read 18 tweets

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