There are only four weeks left until the expiration of the transition period, which will end on December 31, but an agreement between the EU and the UK has not been reached. Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, made very pessimistic statements. Issues such as free trade, fishing licenses, and jurisdiction remain critical stumbling blocks. The European media advocate the resilience of the negotiators — and the willingness to make concessions.
With your charter into foreign waters
According to the newspaper Die Presse, the EU should meet the UK halfway on the issue of fishing quotas, because from an economic point of view, it does not matter much, while being one of the last obstacles to reaching a compromise:
“For years — longer than the UK is part of the EU — the continent’s fishermen have had the right to cast their nets off the British Isles. Now London intends to regain its sole rights to catch fish in its territorial waters. A symbolic but ultimately understandable idea. … For the EU, the UK is now the third country; this is how it should be treated. But it also follows from this that the former EU partners can no longer claim the right to fish in British territorial waters. For this they have to pay a certain price: they will have to agree with the quotas that London will provide them. We must not allow Paris (in the first place) to start bullying London again for such an insignificant reason.”
Free trade and arbitration — no concessions here!
On a number of points, Brussels should never make concessions to London, writes The Irish Independent:
“The EU demands that the UK continue to adhere to standards and regulations in the area of government subsidies, as well as environmental and labor laws. All these norms mean a considerable financial burden on the business. The UK is too big — and too close to the EU to take risks here. The EU should not just give the UK the right to free trade in its market — which is the key to the prosperity of Ireland — without demanding appropriate guarantees in return. Another requirement put forward by the EU concerns a dispute settlement mechanism. It is also critical, especially as London threatens to unilaterally withdraw Northern Ireland’s special trade status.”
The nightmare is getting closer
According to Seznam Zpravy, there is no longer any chance of reaching a compromise:
“The main negotiators are still talking about the possibility of a compromise, although they themselves probably have not believed in it for a long time. … Nevertheless, the answers to some questions are quite outlined. So, from January 1, Europeans will no longer be able to spontaneously pack their bags to try their luck on the British Isles. This will require proof of employment with a minimum income of over £25,500. According to some estimates, about two-thirds of EU workers do not reach this threshold. In the UK, this innovation will primarily affect the field of caring for the sick and the infirm, because now mostly citizens from the EU are working there.”