Trade negotiations between the European Union and the United Kingdom seem likely to miss the mid-November deadline for a new Brexit deal. Reuters reports that after Britain left the European Union in January, a status-quo transition period will expire at the end of the year.
The talks on new trade rules that begin in 2021 haven’t yielded results yet. “By moving into next week, the timelines will start to get tight,” says Irish Foreign Trade Minister Simon Coveney.
“There aren’t many days left in the year, and if we don’t get a deal next week, we may have some real problems.” Now that the stakes are running even higher, an EU diplomat tells Reuters that, “The deadlines are increasingly tight. But the EU cannot make the timetable take precedence over its priority interests.”
If the two sides don’t agree, trade rifts will develop between the world’s biggest trading bloc of 450 million consumers and the sixth-biggest economy. That would only deepen the economic damage caused by the coronavirus in Europe during 2020. “it’s quite possible this could fall apart,” Coveney says, “but if you’re asking me to call it, I think we are more likely to get the deal than not.”