London, December 24
Crunch talks overnight led UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson summon his Cabinet for a late Wednesday night conference call to indicate that a post-Brexit trade agreement may be ready for sign off soon.
The PM is expected to announce the contours of the agreement at a Downing Street soon. Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen have been in close contact over the past few days as the December 31 transition period cut-off loomed over the negotiations, which have missed repeated deadlines as they failed to agree on key areas of fishing rights in each other’s waters and competition rules that would apply to the UK as a non-member of the 27-member economic bloc.
According to reports emerging from Brussels, both sides have come to a base agreement which would ensure most of the current tariff-free, quota-free arrangement but unlikely to mean entirely frictionless trade as businesses had hoped.
“Brexit work would continue throughout the night. Grabbing some sleep is recommended to all Brexit-watchers at this point,” Eric Mamer, the chief spokesperson for Von der Leyen, tweeted on Wednesday. — PTI