Last chance! Boris threatens EU with final Brexit deadline for deal – ‘Over by Christmas’

Brexit: French mayor says EU is 'right to stand firm' on fisheries

With time running out for a deal to be agreed, UK sources have stated talks must end next week. Despite the transition period ending in 11 days, it is thought the EU has not moved on its demands for continued access to the UK’s waters. Due to the EU’s intransigence, UK officials still believe a no deal Brexit is the most likely outcome for the two sides.

One source told The Sun: “One way or another, it’ll all be over by Christmas.”

EU fleets would be decimated if the UK walked from talks due to the loss of access to Britain’s waters.

Emmanuel Macron has pledged to defend French fishermen throughout negotiations.

On Saturday, his ally and European Affairs Minister, Clement Beaune, claimed France would not be rushed into any deal despite the deadline set by MEPs last week.

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If no deal is agreed by December 31, the two sides will trade on WTO terms from January and will negotiate access and quotas for fisheries.

Amid the chaos caused by coronavirus, the Prime Minister has pledged £4billion to keep supply chains open in the event of a no deal Brexit.

A Government source said: “We need to get any deal right and based on terms which respect what the British people voted for.

“Unfortunately, the EU is still struggling to get the flexibility needed from its member states and continues to make demands that are incompatible with our independence.

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“We cannot accept a deal that doesn’t leave us in control of our own laws or waters.

“We’re continuing to try every possible path to an agreement, but without a substantial shift from the Commission we will be leaving on World Trade Organisation terms on December 31.”

The issue of fisheries has remained one of the main areas of divergence between the two sides throughout talks.

It is thought Michel Barnier has demanded a transition period over fisheries to allow EU fishermen continued access.

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Within the timeframe, quota access would also be reduced over time although this has so far been rejected by UK officials.

MEPs last week passed a resolution stating any deal must be presented to the Parliament before December 21.

If a deal is not presented by then, they stated they will not have enough time to ratify it. 

However, it is understood national governments may overrule the Parliament and continue talks past December 21.

In order to avoid a no deal Brexit, national governments could grant provisional application on the deal before MEPs ratify the agreement next year.

Last week, Mr Barnier had stated talks were now at their most critical stage.

While a path to a deal is still possible, he admitted certain issues still remain despite months of intense talks.

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