ENTERTAINMENT

So what did we manage to align with the EU?


It is the document the (political) world has been waiting for – and it is feared that it will be no less than 2,000 pages long.

This morning, EU negotiator Michel Barnier and his British counterpart Lord Frost worked through the Brexit trade agreement line by line.

Talks in Brussels focused on the details of the fishing rights, but both sides have announced that a Christmas Eve deal will be announced that will end months of disputes just a week before the current trade deals expire.

Some feared it would never happen. But the world may soon finally see the deal – which will shape every aspect of Britain's future relationship with the EU.

The UK government’s analysis of the deal-in-wait suggests that it has “won” over 43 percent of the “key issues” in the talks. Another 40 percent are compromises for both sides, only 17 percent less than "EU wins".

Almost a year later, hundreds of officials worked around the clock to settle the terms. So what are the key areas – and what are we going to get into?

EU negotiator Michel Barnier (third from left) and his UK counterpart Lord Frost were still combing the Brexit trade deal

The UK government’s analysis of the deal-in-wait suggests that it has “won” over 43 percent of the “key issues” in the talks. Another 40 percent are compromises for both sides, only 17 percent less than "EU wins".

The UK government’s analysis of the deal-in-wait suggests that it has “won” over 43 percent of the “key issues” in the talks. Another 40 percent are compromises for both sides, only 17 percent less than "EU wins".

FISHING

Last night it seemed like the UK established this key sticking point in order to get a deal.

Fishing rights were the hardest part of the negotiations. Boris Johnson made it clear that Britain would be an independent coastal state responsible for access to its own waters. British fishermen could catch a far greater proportion of the fish available than their EU competitors.

Brussels had been calling for unrestricted access to British waters for a decade. Great Britain had offered a three-year transition period.

According to initial reports, we ultimately reduced 25 percent of the EU catch quota – with changes in more than five and a half years.

According to Downing Street, we will be catching two-thirds of the fish in our waters by 2026 – but there is no doubt that this compromise is closer to the EU's starting position than ours, at least in the short term.

The government document, which can be viewed on Guido Fawkes' website, insists that the situation is a mutual compromise – the UK justified the size of the quotas, the EU justified how long they have access.

Perhaps to save face, however, French sources suggested the situation was a win-win for the EU. A French government source said the UK negotiators had made "huge concessions" on fisheries.

LEVEL PLAY FIELD

Another point of contention was Brussels' fears that the UK could leave the bloc by lowering standards to make its businesses more competitive.

The EU also feared the UK could provide more financial aid to its own businesses.

As a result, it called for a level playing field to avoid a race to the bottom on issues such as labor rights and environmental regulations.

It also wanted the UK to continue to accept a number of EU rules.

The UK said it posed an "existential threat" to its sovereignty. The UK said it would settle for No Deal instead of sticking to EU rules after Brexit.

Last night it seemed like the UK established this key sticking point in order to get a deal. Pictured: Boris Johnson with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, on the steps of 10 Downing Street earlier this year

Last night it seemed like the UK established this key sticking point in order to get a deal. Pictured: Boris Johnson with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, on the steps of 10 Downing Street earlier this year

Ultimately, both parties seem to have agreed on a common regulatory basis on some issues that neither side will fall under.

However, the EU has also insisted that if one side raises standards and the other does not, it will be punished if non-compliance leads to unfair competition.

Instead, it is likely that both sides have agreed on an independent mechanism for solving problems if either side deviates too far from common standards. This would ultimately lead to retribution tariff decisions in the event of a dispute.

AT SIGHT

A related and sensitive issue is that of the European Court of Justice. British sources said the ECJ will have no say in the resolution of lines.

This had been an important request from Westminster in order to avoid the erosion of British sovereignty.

Brussels admitted it could not have the unilateral right to impose penalties on Britain – despite pressing hard for strong and independent arbitration.

The EU had hoped to punish the UK for "breaking rules" in one area by kicking back in another to collect tariffs or taxes in an unrelated sector in order to cause the greatest possible harm.

RATES

In the end, the UK and the EU appear to have agreed a zero tariff and zero quota regime – a significant victory for Mr Johnson. Trade with the EU accounts for 43 percent of UK exports and 51 percent of imports.

Another point of contention was Brussels' fears that the UK could leave the bloc by lowering standards to make its businesses more competitive. Pictured: European chief negotiator Michel Barnier

Another point of contention was Brussels' fears that the UK could leave the bloc by lowering standards to make its businesses more competitive. Pictured: European chief negotiator Michel Barnier

The prospect of no deal – and trading with Brussels on World Trade Organization terms as in Australia – sparked fears of massive additional costs for companies that would have been passed on to the public.

When the talks reached the sharp end, ministers accepted that No Deal would result in many supermarket staples costing more.

POLITICS AND SECURITY

Sources say there has been some consensus on the key issue of security cooperation.

The UK wanted to keep the same access to shared databases as it does now – only the EU claimed it wasn't an option for non-members.

Ultimately, the UK appears to have been given better access than it would have received in a no deal Brexit – although the exact details remain unclear.

HOLIDAY AND HEALTHCARE

When the British strike a deal, it will be easier for them to travel to the continent than if the talks had failed.

It is also hoped that tourists will have access to hospital treatment when traveling abroad.

The UK has argued that the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) should still be valid after the December 31st Brexit transition period, which saves tourists the agony of having their own insurance.

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