Britain and the EU are to begin two more weeks of intense negotiations. Both sides have indicated a deal is in sight. Boris Johnson, is to hold, one on one talks, with the lady in the blue mask. Ursula von der Leyen, head of the European Commission is ready to step up the action, to achieve a solution.
A level fishing ground appears to be the catch. Boris Johnson said last night he was pretty confident of striking a deal. "The chances of a deal, are very good, if everyone exercises some common sense" and agrees with me.
Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor said "We are in constructive mood ... it is up to Britain to decide this freely" and agree with us. Government sources suggested the Prime Minister was keen to get an agreement on key differences. "We are in a better place than we were", "There is a genuine desire to make this work", "The general mood music is good", "Where there is a will there is a way". The expectation is we will have a couple of weeks of intense talks and see where we are at."
Both sides want to narrow the differences, allowing leaders to consider the trade-offs. Lord Frost, the UK's chief negotiator, said the government expected more movement from Brussels. Michel Barnier, his EU counterpart said "persistent, serious, divergences remain".
Johnson explained "We want a Canada style relationship. We have been members of the EU for 45 years" [and we captured Quebec from the French in 1759] he could have added. "I can't see why, the EU can't have the same deal with us. So I am pretty optimistic."
Google "Best Fishing in Canada" and Nunavut in the North West Territories, features. It's a close second to the Queen Charlotte Islands in British Columbia. That's a long haul for the fishermen of Spain and France. Persistent, serious, divergences remain including fishing quotas, state subsidies, rules of origin and the Irish border. It may be best to let the European Court of Justice arbitrate.
We are now four years on from the decision to leave the EU. Just a few more weeks of intensive talks and then we will see where we are at ... the Prime Minister is pretty optimistic ... he may even relax social distancing in time for Christmas ...
The Saturday Economist
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