Here follows a cautionary tale or two: Brexit agreements and the EU #coronavirus recovery fund - that illustrate the dangers of fudging contentious issues under pressure to seal a deal ../1
Once upon a time (not very long ago) EU leaders imagined they’d take a look at a newly-agreed post #Brexit trade deal during a Video-conference on Thurs. Instead negotiators are still wrangling over key issues and the EU is in crisis over its budget + coronavirus recovery Fund /2
Hungary +Poland are blocking the painstakingly constructed new EU budget and much-needed recovery fund in protest at a mechanism allowing the EU to cut off funds to member states found to be breaking the rule of law in a way linked to the EU budget (..) /2
Even if EU leaders were to get rid of the mechanism (something powerful countries eg France say will not happen) the budget and recovery fund could then be vetoed by the European Parliament which insists on the mechanism /3
Diplomats point to the dangers of fudging/not pinning down difficult issues at the start. The hot potato rule of law issue was not fulsomely discussed this summer with eg Germany more focused on getting the budget+recovery fund agreed as soon as possible /4
Remember the tortuous negotiations about the ‚Irish backstop‘ in Brexit divorce talks? That dated back to December 2017 when the issue was first fudged in a joint report between the EU and UK. This allowed each side to nurse their own interpretation of what had been ‚agreed‘ /5
The implementation of the finally-agreed Irish protocol has also proven difficult because details (eg which goods imported from GB to NI would be seen as ´at risk’ of slipping into single market) were ‘glossed over’ to reach a deal /6
So what now with fishing rights in a post #Brexit trade deal? The two sides are still far apart. No one wants fish to be the issue to destroy chances of an overall deal but diplomats from EU coastal countries tell me a broad brushstrokes solution would be a ´nightmare’ /7
They say quota details need to be pinned down now so - for example Dutch or French leaders can tell fishing communities that either they’re protected or will be financially compensated .. But the details must be hammered out, they say.. But there’s little time left to do so /8

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More from @BBCkatyaadler

18 Nov
Much speculation (quelle surprise) as we hear EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier is expected to brief representatives of the 27 member states on Friday early morning .. Is a deal in the offing? Could it be announced this weekend? Early next week? #Brexit /1
Reality is, it could have been announced yesterday or a month or two ago. The main 3 sticking points (fish, governance, competition rules) have been the same since these talks began. Each side know compromises are needed... But whether to make them and who moves first ? /2
That’s what we’ve been waiting for. And everything is linked. Remember ‘nothing is agreed until everything is agreed’ ? Of course EU coastal states eg NL and France know they need to compromise on rights to fish in UK waters but don’t want to budge till gov shows flexibility /3
Read 11 tweets
12 Nov
EU diplomats sounding pessimistic about EU-UK negotiations. “Two weeks ago it seemed more positive. Now the only thing that’s moving is time” according to one well-placed source #Brexit /1
Suggestion by one diplomat that no deal might be useful “to clear the air” between U.K. and EU at this stage. Otherwise, he said, relations would be tense “from day one” after deal signed as both sides so far apart on common standards argument /2
EU still insists UK trying to get unrivalled access to single market while wanting to diverge as much as possibile on standards/regulations while U.K. blames EU for continuing to want to tie it to Brussels’ and not accepting post #Brexit reality /3
Read 4 tweets
5 Nov
Has UK really slowed down trade talks with EU until #USElectionResults become crystal clear? No, says UK. We don’t get that impression, says EU. Yet sources in Brussels insist the UK did put the brakes on intensive negotiations this week. So what is going on? #Brexit /1
As always, it depends who you speak to. EU diplomats wonder aloud whether No10 is hedging its bets on the best (or least worst) timing to make concessions necessary to agree a trade deal with EU. Brussels can see the difficulties the PM already faces over Lockdown2 with own MPs/2
EU voices muse whether the PM is waiting till all backs against the wall time-wise before clinching the deal. For domestic political reasons. « Boris Johnson is certainly not personally involved in haggling over herring or individual fishing issues » remarked one EU diplomat /3
Read 7 tweets
4 Nov
Germany‘s Economy Minister and France‘s Europe Minister separately observe that Europe cant wait for its fate to be decided by politics in US. Saying that 4 years of Trump presidency have shown Europe it needs to determine own path when comes to economy, climate, tech and more/1
Clearly they know Europe stronger with US by its side eg on China, Iran, climate. Their argument esp tricky when comes to security . Europe has looked to US to have its back in security terms since WW2. Having Trump in White House has led Europeans to doubt that assumption /2
EU attempts to create own defence force are fraught with countless difficulties: practical, political, logistic Trump isn’t first US President to call on Europeans to spend more on Defence but Europeans fear if Trump returns to office he might weaken or destroy NATO altogether./3
Read 7 tweets
28 Oct
NEW: Angela Merkel has just announced a month long partial lockdown nationwide. Schools and shops to stay open but bars, restaurants and leisure facilities must close #corona /1
Merkel spoke after meeting regional leaders. This partial lockdown is an attempt to stop patchy regional response /2
Under new measures, private gatherings will be limited to members of two households, with a maximum of ten people. Merkel asked people not to travel unless absolutely necessary. Hotels in Germany will be closed to tourists /3
Read 4 tweets
21 Oct
Talks back on! #Brexit /1
A No.10 spokesman said: „We have studied carefully the statement by Michel Barnier to the European Parliament this morning.  As the EU’s Chief Negotiator his words are authoritative.“ /2
„As to the substance, we note that Mr Barnier set out the principles that the EU has brought to this negotiation, and that he also acknowledged the UK’s established red lines.  It is clear that significant gaps remain between our positions in the most difficult areas“ /3
Read 6 tweets

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