Brexit 5 – Winter is Coming

Call Me Maybe

The UK and the EU have been holding their final rounds of trade talks in Brussels. The EU warned a deal must be reached before the end of October to be signed off by the member states before the end of the year, while

Johnson has said both sides should “move on” if an agreement has not been reached by mid-October. Trade talks over a post-Brexit deal continue, following the EU’s decision to take legal action against the UK after it refused to remove sections of the Internal Market Bill.  Boris Johnson will be speaking to the president of the EU Commission Ursula Von der Leyen on Saturday to “take stock” of post-Brexit trade negotiations and “discuss next steps”.

Both parties are yet to confirm whether the call will take place via Zoom or Teams.

‘Priti’ drastic plans

Home Secretary Priti Patel asked officials to look at asylum policies which had been successful in other countries, including Ascension Island, a remote UK territory in the Atlantic Ocean. A main concern to welcoming refugees is the cost, so critics of the leaked plans are questioning the cost-effectiveness of transporting refugees over 4,000 miles.

Allies of Patel have accused political rivals in other departments of leaking the offshore island asylum plans in an attempt to ridicule the Home Secretary, with locations including Ascension, St Helena and Papua New Guinea deemed impractical, potentially illegal and expensive. Other creative ideas have included floating walls in the Channel to block illegal migrants and putting asylum seekers on disused ferries or oil rigs moored off the coast.

 Friends further afield

This week, the UK commenced second round trade discussions with Australia and talks with Vietnam commenced. This comes following the UK’s recent free trade agreement secured with Japan, which was the UK’s first major trade deal as an independent trading nation.

According to the Department for International Trade, “most chapter areas are now in the advanced stage of talks.” The update confirms Britain’s desire to Britain strengthen economic ties with Asia-Pacific countries and expand trade beyond Europe after Brexit.

Murky waters

The UK has signed its first fishing agreement since leaving the EU. The deal offers a three-year transition period on fishing during trade negotiations with the EU, with the fish caught by EU fishermen being “phased down” between 2021 and 2024 to offer time for European coastal communities to adapt to the changes.

The EU has rejected Britain’s proposal for a deal similar to the one struck with Norway, which involves annual negotiations on share of catch, known as the ‘zone attachment’ method. A failure to agree annually on catches could lead to EU fishermen being locked out of British waters, something that could threaten the livelihoods of European coastal communities.

Britain takes a plunge

A national poll has found that confidence in Britain is a global force for good has plunged in the last 18 months, with under less than half of the UK assured of the country’s positive impact – down 19% since last April. The polling was undertaken in an attempt to promote a close relationship between Britain and the EU in the coming years, following a turbulent 18 months of disagreement and tension.

The poll also found that there still remains a divide between the two sides the 2016 Brexit referendum: 65% of said Britain is a force for good in the world, compared to 45% of Remainers. Perhaps more positively, the polling shows that the large majority of people feel that the UK should keep a close relationship with the EU despite Brexit and a small minority wants to see the UK stepping down further away from the global stage.