The first of the newly scheduled weekly talks between the UK and EU teams on a trade deal by the end of the transition period (31st December 2020) finished early last week, sending warning signals to those hoping for some breakthrough. Time is running out. Prime Minister Johnson has rejected the possibility for an extension of the negotiating period into 2021 and Brussels has said talks and the text of any deal which has the status of a legally binding international treaty have to be completed no later than October to allow all 27 EU governments and the European Parliament to examine and sign off on the new agreement. London has also indicated that it wants a deal by the end of September. Given the summer’s holidays and parliamentary recess this allows very little time indeed to produce anything substantial.
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