Am told Barnier was ‘in good spirits’ when reported back to EU ambassadors this morning on state of play in negotiations ongoing in London BUT that he has ‘reached the edges of his mandate’ and has little more room for manoeuvre in talks with U.K. “Only millimetres left” /1
Of course you’d expect the EU side to say this. But there is a deeply-held belief here that U.K. must now move considerably on 3 STILL OUTSTANDING issues: fish, competition rules, governance- in order for there to be a deal this year /2
EU countries jumpy about concessions being made to U.K. “This is the painful part” said one EU ambassador BUT I don’t detect mistrust in Barnier and team in my conversations.NB Barnier didn’t ask EU countries for more flexibility in negotiating mandate this morning /3
“If he had done, our answer would be clear” EU diplomat told me (ie No). Eu countries impatient with European Commission refusing to publish more details on no deal contingency plans eg on transport, air traffic and aviation security. Commission resisting bc .. /4
Don’t want to give U.K. government the impression it can get ‘mini deals’ for free - without signing up to agreed compromises and overall treaty. After months of circular negotiations on key issues, EU attention is now re-focused on #Brexit There’s tension and resignation /5
“Deal can be done this month .. or next, or next year” said one EU source. But of course it wouldnt be comfortable in the meantime for either side (customs queues, no police and judicial cooperation agreement etc ) and ‘bad blood’ could delay/influence EU decisions outside /6
These trade talks eg on financial services and data exchange regulations, pet travel and access to medical care in the EU for U.K. citizens .. /7

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More from @BBCkatyaadler

3 Dec
Mire pizza anyone? EU+UK negotiators will work late into the night tonight as they did last night, I’m told. “This is the big push”. EU sources predict the “bulk of outstanding work” on deal could be done in next 24 hours BUT that fine-tuning could take a few more days #Brexit /1
More EU negotiators are making their way to London this afternoon. This, in itself, isn’t remarkable - there can be lots of shuttling between London and Brussels on negotiating weeks BUT the timing makes everything noteworthy right now /2
EU sources tell me that even if/when the outline of a deal is there, there will most likely be a meeting between the PM and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. EU member states could then veto the deal IF they’re unhappy.. /3
Read 6 tweets
23 Nov
Assumption EU-side is that if a deal will be reached, Boris Johnson will want it to be when -or just after-negotiating teams meet in London, rather than during a ‘Brussels week’. EU attitude is that bottom line: it wants a deal but not bothered how U.K. gov sells it at home /1
Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier today said fundamental differences remain between the two sides on core issues But negotiators are expected to meet face-to-face in London later this week-which, potentially, is when Barnier and the PM could emerge from #covid19 self-isolation/2
Adding to the swirl of rumour and speculation about imminent announcement of a deal : we hear a call is being planned later this week between the PM and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.. /3
Read 7 tweets
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
19 Nov
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
Read 6 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

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