Nobody takes the deadline of October 15 too seriously, initially set by Boris Johnson, British Prime Minister, coinciding with the European Council that is being held this week in Brussels. But there is not much more time to negotiate. Michel Barnier, chief negotiator of the European Commission, communicated this Tuesday to the ministers and secretaries of State for European Affairs meeting in Luxembourg, that the negotiation may be extended, at most, until the end of October or the first days of November.”There have been previous ultimatums, this is not the first, but it will be the last”Said Juan González Barba, Spanish Secretary of State for European Affairs. “What the chief negotiator has transferred to us is that this time there is a definitive deadline set by the calendar,” he explained to the media after the end of the General Affairs Council in which other points on the agenda were also addressed. European Union, such as the situation of the rule of law or the approval of common color codes for travel restrictions due to the coronavirus.
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The three issues that remain pending in the negotiation are the governance of the agreement, the ‘level-playing field’ that guarantees equal conditions, and finally fishing, with a group of Member States wanting to retain access rights to British waters. Although some progress has been made in the various areas, there is still a long way to go from reaching an understanding.
Barnier upon arrival in Luxembourg. (EFE)
In addition, the European negotiator has already announced this Tuesday to the Council that “Both parties will have to make concessions”. “It is not a flexibilization of the mandate, but advises us that not everything that has been entrusted to you can be achieved in these negotiations”, González Barba explained. The British and European teams hold negotiations this week, and Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, and Boris Johnson, British prime minister, will have a telephone conversation this Wednesday.
The first days of November are the European deadline because only if an agreement is reached at that time will it be possible to complete the entire translation and ratification process, with the agreement having to go through the hands of the European Parliament, which must approve it.