EU leaders hold a summit by videoconference today to discuss #covid19 and the EU budget + recovery fund crisis (see below). #Brexit not officially on agenda but leaders expect an update on trade talks from European Commission President. Ursula von der Leyen /1
Mood is sombre on all three fronts in EU circles. On Brexit some member states are pushing to boost no deal planning with negotiations still stuck on some of the toughest issues. This could be attempt to exert more pressure on U.K. Equally no deal is still a real possibility /2
Hungary and Poland insist that a new mechanism in the EU budget - linking adherence to the rule of law to receiving funds - must be removed. This veto also threatens the EU’s eagerly-awaited covid19 recovery fund. /3
Warsaw and Budapest stand to benefit big time from EU budget funds and also from recovery fund but they object to what they see as selective and unfair meddling in member states’ domestic affairs. Their POV, though not their veto, is supported by Slovenia’s PM /4
France insists the rule of law mechanism won’t be removed. Germany is looking into better defining what is meant by ‘rule of law’. The Netherlands and others propose a last-ditch solution of separating the recovery fund from the budget in order to be able to proceed with it /5
Minus Poland and Warsaw. It’s all a big mess and unlikely to be resolved during today’s videoconference summit /6

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More from @BBCkatyaadler

20 Nov
After a briefing to member states on state of play in EU-U.K. negotiations, EU diplomat says: “Gaps are only slowly shrinking on core issues like level playing field, governance and fisheries.” Says there’s growing concern enough time left #Brexit /1
But diplomat added that EU hopes process can be completed quickly ‘once political decisions have been taken in London’. NB Government making similar statements but pointing finger at EU, calling on Brussels to make the political decisions (compromises) /2
EU diplomat adds that EU will need to ‘ramp up’ contingency plans now in parallel to still trying to pursue a deal. ‘EU needs to prepare for all eventualities’ /3
Read 5 tweets
19 Nov
EU-UK post #Brexit trade talks will continue despite the positive #coronavirus test result for a member of EU negotiating team. That individual, those in direct contact including chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier will self isolate but /1
Negotiations during pandemic have long been a mix of in-person and on-screen negotiations so - I’m briefed - ‘this shouldn’t affect talks too much’ PLUS EU-side insist that ‘technical negotiations have gone as far as can at this stage. It’s now time for political decisions’ /2
Brussels looks to Downing Street now. EU view is: if/when the PM takes the decision that he wants this deal and is willing to make compromises (as EU admits it must too-eg on fish) THEN, I’m told the details to close deal can be ‘sorted in a matter of days’ /3
Read 4 tweets
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
17 Nov
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
Read 9 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

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