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.…
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.…
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...
One issue mentioned to me by a few seasoned negotiators is that they feel neither the UK or EU has done enough work preparing domestic stakeholders for the compromises a deal will require. Obviously that sort of approach is in any case anathema on the UK side.
Still suspect the most underestimated issue for the UK in EU talks is that the Northern Ireland protocol will have to be implemented even in a deal, and that means checks GB-NI both ways (though minimised) as well as state aid subject to ECJ, contrary to the PM's promises.
Remembering there are now Conservative MPs who believe the best approach for the UK is to leave talks and disown the Withdrawal Agreement, the PM has to go against them for a deal. Of course he can, but that has in the past been career limiting for a tory leader...

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More from @DavidHenigUK

17 Oct
Brexit. UK-EU talks. Let's try to explain why we're in such a state, of increased risk of no deal, moving away from the fish and playing fields which are the detail but not the answer, to differing philosophies and divorce parallels that might just help... 1/
First, with apologies to those concerned, we need to go beyond those saying this is the inevitable path to deal / no-deal. Half of them will be right and I'll definitely be wrong (don't worry, I'm hedged in wine bets), but it wasn't inevitable, typical, or necessary. 2/
I'll also ignore the content of any deal, which has been clear for months, the UK compromises on level playing field, the EU on fish. Something so obvious really isn't the fundamental issue. Could, as some not noted for their perspicacity have said, be done in an afternoon. 3/
Read 19 tweets
16 Oct
A letter from the PM on the EU talks which is confused, exaggerated, and internally contradictory. There could be no possible basis for a trade deal if the letter was to be taken seriously. ImageImage
The EU-Canada agreement is not based on "friendship and free-trade" but is absolutely full of conditionality. I've clipped a random bit of text, but frankly there are dozens of similar examples. ImageImage
"They want the continued ability to control our legislative freedom".

Distortion / exaggeration. All trade treaties involve a restriction of legislative freedom. You might as well say the same about other members of the WTO. Image
Read 9 tweets
16 Oct
Worth noting as we play future scenarios, that no trade deal is probably not a stable UK EU end state as it will mean more such demands to denounce the Withdrawal Agreement.
Anyway, the deal available to the UK (and EU) is more or less as we've known since June, and not technically difficult. The politics and choreography horrendous. We wait to see what the coming days bring.

In the mean time, at least tonight, 🍷
Ah, this is not what happens in the run up to a deal
Read 4 tweets
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
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
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.…
The UK version of EU-UK talks remains more optimistic than that in the EU.…
Read 4 tweets

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