The United Kingdom will finally leave the European Union on 31 January after 47 years. What will the country's future look like after Brexit? The next 11 months will provide a strong indication.
The Christmas Eve Brexit deal was concluded by London and Brussels four years after Britain narrowly voted to leave the bloc and a week before the transition period was about to expire, putting it on course to be fast-tracked through parliament.
After a frenzy of last-minute negotiations, the United Kingdom and the European Union signalled earlier that they were closing in on the elusive post-Brexit trade deal ahead of the 31 December deadline, with the bombshell announcement expected on Christmas Eve, according to UK government sources.
The UK is believed to be on the brink of a historic Brexit deal with the EU as Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to address his nation on Thursday morning after the two sides pulled an all-nighter hammering out a solution to an agreement that has been mired in sticking points.
A ‘No Deal’ scenario in talks on a post-Brexit trade agreement was still suggested as the most likely one on Sunday, with Brussels reluctant to change its mind on maintaining rights to most of the catch from UK fishing waters, and France prepared to offer Britain "a few more days to reach an agreement that respects our priorities and red lines".
Earlier, as post-Brexit talks between London and Brussels came down to the wire, and the spectre of a no-deal exit from the bloc loomed, reports claimed the Royal Navy was ready to deploy four patrol ships to stop EU fishing vessels if they illegally enter the Channel.
Negotiations to reach an agreement on post-Brexit trade between the UK and the EU are being given yet another chance after Boris Johnson and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen agreed that the parties should go the "extra mile" in a bid to secure a deal, despite the UK Prime Minister intimating that a no-deal Brexit was most likely.
On 13 December, the UK and the EU agreed to continue the negotiations concerning their post-Brexit trade relations. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that Britain was not going to walk away from EU trade deal talks, adding however that they were still preparing for a no-deal scenario.
As Downing Street sources suggest that UK-EU trade talks have an 80 percent chance of failing to produce a breakthrough ahead of the looming transition deadline, preparations for Britain crashing out of the bloc have so far seen Royal Navy vessels deployed to ward off 'threats of illegal fishing' in UK waters.
Earlier this week, reports emerged that both the UK and the EU admit that a no-deal scenario was becoming more and more likely following months of fruitless negotiations between London and Brussels over their post-Brexit trade relations.
As Britain’s Brexit transition period is due to end on 31 December, EU and UK negotiators have been struggling to reach an accord on the three sticking points of governance, fishing rights, and the so-called level playing field, with both camps now conceding that a failure to reach a deal is now a more likely outcome than not.
This comes at a time when the UK and the EU have been engaged in challenging talks concerning the terms of their post-Brexit trade co-operation.
Another day of frantic talks on a deal that will shape relations between the UK and EU post-Brexit failed to bring breakthroughs, as a phone conversation on Monday between Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen resulted in a joint statement underscoring that conditions for a deal were "not there”.
An attempt to break the stalemate in trade negotiations rooted in deep-seated differences between the UK and EU was made earlier by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. While their “frank and realistic” conversation acknowledged the need for mutual concessions, the specter of a no-deal Brexit looms.
On Saturday, UK Prime Minister Johnson and EU chief Von der Leyen made a joint statement to say that negotiations on post-Brexit trade relations, which had stalled earlier this week, would continue on Sunday.
As the 31 December deadline for the Brexit transition period draws nearer, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and EU chief Ursula Von der Leyen have waded in to try and revive stalled negotiations as neither camp seemed ready to shift its position enough to allow for a breakthrough over some deep-seated sticking points.
Earlier this week, chief UK and EU negotiators, David Frost and Michel Barnier, suspended the talks, saying their respective political leaders would "discuss the state of play".
Queues of trucks stretching for five miles unexpectedly developed in Kent at the approach to the Eurotunnel entrance on 24 November after the French authorities tested post-Brexit checks, with many warning this was a glimpse of things to come in January whether a deal is reached or not.
As chief UK and EU negotiators hit the pause button in Brexit talks, stalemated over a spate of sticking points, PM Boris Johnson and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen have been called in to "discuss the state of play" with only four weeks left until the transitional arrangement comes to an end on 31 December.
Earlier in the month, positive vaccine-related developments buoyed British stocks somewhat, yet the latter still under-performed on market jitters over soaring coronavirus cases, new ‘lockdown tiers’ and stalled Brexit negotiations ahead of a year-end deadline for a trade deal between the UK and the European Union.
The European Union and the UK have been locked in talks in Brussels in an effort to resolve the remaining obstacles to a deal shaping the two sides’ post-Brexit relations, including sticking points such as fisheries, state aid rules and the Irish border issue.