Trade negotiation between the UK and the EU
Trade negotiations between the UK and the EU took place after Brexit between the United Kingdom and the European Union for a trade agreement to make trade easier than it would have been without such a deal. The deal covers (or eliminates) both tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade. The negotiations formally ended on 24 December 2020 with an agreement approved in principle by the UK Prime Minister (on behalf of the UK) and (on behalf the EU) the President of the European Commission. The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) needs to be signed and ratified before it enters into force, but is planned to be provisionally applied before that happens: from 1 January 2021.
|Part of a series of articles on|
Glossary of terms
|EU portal · UK portal|
During the Brexit negotiations in 2017 (of the withdrawal agreement), the two sides agreed that trade negotiation could only start after the UK's withdrawal, because such negotiations could not happen when the UK still has a veto right within the EU. For this and other reasons, a transition period after Brexit day was defined to allow those negotiations. The transition period started on 1 February 2020, in accordance with the withdrawal agreement. The transition period is scheduled to end on 31 December 2020, a deadline which could have been extended for two years, if requested by 30 June 2020. The British government declared that it would not apply for any such extension, and did not do so. In addition, it declared that the only kind of trade deal the UK is interested in, if any, is a Canadian-style trade deal.
The United Kingdom leaves the European Single Market and European Union Customs Union from 1 January 2021. A trade deal facilitates EU-UK trade, which accounts for 49% of international UK trade. A Canadian-style trade deal offers the UK a reduction on most custom tariffs between the EU and the UK, but without eliminating VAT, customs and phytosanitary checks. The arrangements for its dominant financial services sector are of particular importance to the UK.
UK trade with the rest of the EU before Brexit
The rest of the EU (EU27) was the UK's largest trading partner before Brexit: In 2018, the bloc made up 45% of UK exports and 53% of UK imports. Outside EU, the biggest trading partner of the UK is USA, which in 2018 made up 19% of UK exports and 11% of UK imports.
The UK expected to have a Canada-style agreement, while the EU considered proximity and the size of its trade made a Canada-style trade deal dependent on UK adoption of "level playing field" measures.
The first official meeting was scheduled for the afternoon of the Monday 2 March 2020. The Guardian anticipated that the 'flash-points' would be "the level playing field' (on workers' rights, environmental protection, product safety standards and state aid), fisheries, dispute resolution, financial services, security and law enforcement, foreign policy and defence, cross-border transport, science and research". In addition, the EU expressed its concern that the UK had not begun any work to implement the Ireland Protocol in the Withdrawal Agreement (a formal treaty) and that UK Government appeared to be backsliding on the obligations it had entered into.
It was expected that the first rounds deals with regulatory standards and fisheries. It is understood that if those points are not agreed by the end of June, both sides will break off negotiations to concentrate on no deal preparedness.
The first round of talks concluded on 5 March 2020. Barnier reported 'grave differences' between the sides, citing in particular the UK's reluctance to commit formally to continued participation in the (non-EU) European Convention on Human Rights as a serious obstacle to security and criminal intelligence cooperation.
The second round, due to take place in mid-March, was postponed due to the 2020 coronavirus pandemic in Europe. Both sides have been exploring alternative ways to continue discussions, including if possible the use of video conferences. On 13 March 2020, the draft of the European Commission's proposals were circulated to national governments for comment; it was then published on 18 March.
In late March, it emerged that negotiations had been abandoned as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, that negotiating via video-conferencing had not proved practicable, and that the British side had failed to table a legal draft that the sides could work on. At the end of March, the UK side declared that it had shared its text, while concerns grew about the realism of a timetable set before the pandemic. It also emerged that the UK had rejected an EU request for a permanent technical office in Belfast, saying that the request would go "beyond what is stipulated in the withdrawal agreement". (Article 12 of the Ireland Protocol states that the UK government is “responsible for implementing and applying the provisions of [EU] law” but EU officials “shall have the right to be present during any activities” relating to checks and controls).
In April, against a background of the UK's and member states' preoccupation with managing the rapidly escalating coronavirus emergency, commentators began increasingly to question the practicality of the UK's timetable. Amanda Sloat, a senior fellow at Brookings Institution remarked "In all circumstances it’s very difficult to imagine how some sort of large scale trade deal between the U.K. and the EU gets done by the end of the year." Preliminary negotiations resumed on 15 April, limited to agreeing the phasing of subsequent negotiations to end in June 2020. (The deadline for completing negotiations is 30 June 2020). The following day, UK lead negotiator Frost reiterated his Government's position that the end date will not be changed:
As we prepare for the next Rounds of negotiations, I want to reiterate the Government's position on the transition period created following our withdrawal from the EU. Transition ends on 31 December this year. We will not ask to extend it. If the EU asks we will say no. Extending would simply prolong negotiations, create even more uncertainty, leave us liable to pay more to the EU in future, and keep us bound by evolving EU laws at a time when we need to control our own affairs. In short, it is not in the UK's interest to extend.
A week of full negotiations began on 20 April, by video-conference. The issues to be addressed included the future trade relationship, security policy, trade rules and the contentious issue of fishing rights. Briefing journalists at the end of the week, Barnier expressed disappointment and frustration at the lack of progress made. In a comment to The Guardian, "a UK spokesman openly questioned the value of the deal being offered by Brussels when compared with a no-deal outcome". According to The Guardian, "there is recognition on both sides of the talks that there is little prospect of agreement on the most contentious issues without a major reset of positions". The Financial Times summarised the week's negotiations as "serv[ing] to underline [...] that the UK and the EU are seeking to negotiate fundamentally different projects".
On 13 May, the UK announced that it was moving to establish Border Control Posts at Belfast Harbour, Larne and Warrenpoint to manage livestock and agrifood products, in accordance with the Ireland Protocol in the withdrawal agreement. The withdrawal agreement specifies that Northern Ireland will continue to follow European single market rules on agricultural and manufactured goods.
On 15 May, the May round of trade negotiations (by video-conferencing) ended in acrimony, with each side blaming the other for lack of progress. While these talks were in progress, responsible Cabinet Minister Michael Gove raised the question of whether an agreement based on quotas and tariffs (like the EU–Canada CET Agreement) might be a better option but EU sources dismissed the idea of agreeing terms in the time available. On 19 May, the UK Government published its draft text for the deal.
In late May, The Guardian reported that the Fisheries Committee of the European Parliament had "threatened that it would veto any deal that did not include a 'balanced agreement' on fishinq quotas".
The early June round of negotiations again ended with 'no significant progress' but, the Financial Times reported, "afterwards both sides showed fresh signs of a willingness to compromise to get a deal". The EU side indicated 'flexibility' over application of its State aid rules and the UK did likewise over accepting some tariffs.
In late June, German Chancellor Angela Merkel suggested that prospects for mutual compromise were receding and those for a no-deal Brexit were increasing.
The month ended with the expiry of the deadline for the UK to request an extension to the transition period. No such request was made.
Face-to-face negotiations beginning 29 June and due to run to 3 July broke up in acrimony on 2 July, with no progress being made. Earlier that week, senior British industrialists warned Prime Minister Johnson of "hugely damaging consequences of a 'no-deal Brexit'".
The August round of negotiations ended on 21 August, with "little progress" being made. EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier, noting how little time remained, said that it "seems unlikely" that an agreement can be reached. UK chief negotiator David Frost said that "Agreement is still possible, and it is still our goal, but it is clear that it will not be easy to achieve. Substantive work continues to be necessary across a range of different areas of potential UK-EU future cooperation if we are to deliver it. We have had useful discussions this week but there has been little progress". Barnier questioned Britain's sudden surprise at the impending loss of inter-state (rather than intrastate) cabotage rights for British hauliers, since this is a benefit of the single market that the UK had chosen to leave, and has never been available to third countries.
At the beginning of September, the chief negotiators met informally in London to discuss their lack of progress, but there was "no breakthrough". Both sides say that is increasingly unlikely that an agreement can be reached before the deadline. Johnson declared on 7 September that unless an agreement was in place by 15 October, there would be no deal. Barnier had already said (on 26 August) that agreement would have to be reached by 31 October for the Council and both Parliaments to ratify it in time (end December).
The negotiation climate changed when The Financial Times reported on 6 September that the UK government planned to draw up new legislation that would bypass the withdrawal agreement, in particular the Northern Ireland Protocol. The proposed new law would give UK ministers unilateral power to define what state aid needs to be reported to the EU, and define what products they considered at risk of being brought into Ireland from Northern Ireland (the withdrawal agreement states that in the absence of a mutual agreement, all products should be considered at risk). The government defended the move, saying the legislation was compliant with the protocol and merely "clarified" ambiguity in the protocol.
Ursula von der Leyen warned Johnson not to break international law, saying that the UK's implementation of the withdrawal agreement was a "prerequisite for any future partnership". The Guardian reported, based on cables sent to member states, that the Commission has a growing mistrust in the UK government and its motives and strategies. On 8 September, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis, told the UK Parliament that Government's imminent UK Internal Market Bill will "break international law in a very specific and limited way."
The bill was published, with explanatory notes, on 9 September 2020. The next day, Thursday 10 September 2020, the Vice-President of the EU-UK Joint Committee, European Commissioner Maroš Šefčovič, in an extraordinary meeting in London delivered the EU's concern to Michael Gove, stating that an adoption of the bill "would constitute an extremely serious violation of the Withdrawal Agreement and of international law". The EU demanded the withdrawal of the bill by the end of September, adding "the European Union will not be shy" in using the mechanisms and legal remedies to address violations of the legal obligations contained in the Brexit withdrawal agreement. Gove said he had made it "perfectly clear" that the UK will not withdraw the bill, which, according to commentators, might mean the end of the trade negotiation.
Informal talks resumed during the week ending 18 September but there were no formal announcements or open briefings; nevertheless the UK side let it be known that "some limited progress" had been made between the teams.
We are making good progress. But on the two critical issues, level playing field and fisheries, there we would like to see more progress. We are now in depth in detailing [how we could] construct a system that is fair for both sides for a level playing field.
Ursula von der Leyen, 29 October 2020
On 1 October, the Commission sent to the UK Government "a letter of formal notice for breaching its obligations under the Withdrawal Agreement" because the latter's refusal to remove the contentious clauses in the UK Government's Internal Market Bill. The letter marks "the first step of an infringement process". Ireland's foreign minister, Simon Coveney, had observed earlier that week that many of the EU's concerns would “fade away” if a trade deal was secured.
Meanwhile, the ninth round of negotiations (that had begun at the end of September) ended on 2 October without evident progress. In a public statement, M. Barnier reported that there was continuing "convergence on trade in goods, services and investment, civil nuclear cooperation, and participation in Union programmes"; "positive new developments on some topics such as aviation safety, social security coordination, and the respect of fundamental rights and individual freedoms"; "lack of progress on some important topics like the protection of personal data, climate change commitments or carbon pricing". However, there were "persistent serious divergences on matters of major importance for the European Union", specifically "solid, long-term guarantees of open and fair competition", "robust enforcement and dispute settlement mechanisms, as well as effective remedies" and "a stable, sustainable and long-term agreement on fisheries".
In mid-October, it appeared that negotiations had all but collapsed. In a press release after 15 October meeting of the European Council (of heads of government), the Council stated its assessment "that progress on the key issues of interest to the Union is still not sufficient for an agreement to be reached", and "call[ed] on the UK to make the necessary moves to make an agreement possible". The next day, the UK Government responded that "there will be no more trade and security talks unless the EU adopts a fundamental change of approach” and that the UK would prepare to trade on WTO terms. "The trade talks are over – [the] EU effectively ended them yesterday when they said they did not want to change their negotiating position", a spokesperson told The Guardian. The same day, UK negotiator Frost withdrew his invitation to Barnier for the tenth round of talks due to begin in London on 19 October, but they will keep channels of communication open. After a week of what The Guardian described as 'theatrics', negotiations resumed on 22 October. Summarising the state of negotiations at the end of the month, The Financial Times reporter wrote that "people involved in the negotiations said intensive talks in London earlier this week had delivered substantial progress in drafting the text of a deal, but that real breakthroughs on the outstanding issues remained elusive." On 18 October, seventeen business associations including the Confederation of British Industry had intervened to urge the sides to reach agreement as a matter of greatest urgency, saying "Sectors from automotive to aviation, chemicals to creative industries, and farming and food to pharmaceuticals – are united: securing a quick agreement matters greatly for jobs and livelihoods".
Despite intensive talks continuing through the week-end of 28/29 November, the month ended without a resolution on the two sticking points: fishing rights and dispute resolution on state aid. According to ITV News, "Progress is understood to have been made across many areas, yet significant gaps are said to remain on the EU’s access to UK fishing waters when the transition period ends on December 31."
On 4 December, negotiators Barnier and Frost announced that they had been unable to reach an agreement and had referred the question to their superiors. On 5 December, Johnson and von der Leyen discussed the impasse and agreed that their negotiators should make a further attempt next day. These talks did not break the deadlock and on 9 December, Johnson and von der Leyen met face to face. After a discussion described as 'frank' and without evident breakthrough, the negotiators were ordered to resume until 13 December when both sides would decide whether there would be any value in continuing. Following a phone call between Johnson and von der Leyen on 13 December, both sides released a joint statement mandating their negotiators to continue talks with no stated deadline.
On 17 December, the leaders of the main political groupings of the European Parliament (except Greens) declared Sunday 20 December as the latest possible date for a draft agreement to be presented for their consideration and possible ratification by the year's end. This deadline too, was missed. Should the negotiators achieve an agreement before the transition period expires, the Council of Ministers and the British Cabinet may need to give provisional approval if a no-deal exit is to be avoided; such approval will be subject to subsequent consideration and ratification (or rejection) by European and British parliaments in 2021.
On 24 December, the President of the European Commission and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom announced that they had agreed a final draft deal, the EU–UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, subject to ratification by the European Council, the European Parliament and the Parliament of the United Kingdom. On 28 December, the European Union ambassadors unanimously approved the draft agreement, clearing the way for it to be operated provisionally with effect from 1 January. On 30 December, the United Kingdom's House of Commons approved the agreement with the European Union by 521 votes to 73.
The issue of regulatory alignment is that the EU believes that the UK would need to 'closely shadow' EU regulations (on product safety, environmental protection, workers' rights, subsidies, etc.) to permit 'unfettered' trade in goods and services, while the UK declares that it will not do so. The Withdrawal Agreement recognises that standards in Great Britain will diverge in many respects from those in the EU (with consequent loss of trade privileges in these areas), with a special status being accorded to Northern Ireland to keep open the Irish border.
“We aren’t frightened by suggestions there is going to be friction, there are going to be greater barriers. We know that and have factored this in and we look further forward – to the gains of the future,”
On its side, the European Union expects the UK to commit to a "level playing field" on various topics in order to offer "robust" guarantees to ensure fair competition and protection of the standards. President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, observed that zero tariffs and quotas requires the UK to commit to 'zero dumping'.
The fishing sector in the UK has (as of 2018[update]) 22,000 jobs related to fish processing, 6,036 UK-registered vessel, and 11,961 fishermen. In the British economy, the fishing sector has a value of £784 million. In comparison, financial services have a value of £132 billion. Despite being a little proportion of the economy, fishery is of high importance to both the UK and coastal EU states nearby. In 2018, 75 % of all seafood caught in the UK was exported, most to the EU, while of the seafood consumed in the UK, two thirds are imported.
The EU has a common fisheries policy (CFP), which allows EU fishers access to waters of every other EU member state, outside the first 12 nautical miles (22 km) from the coast. Following the end of the transition period, the UK will become a third party coastal state with, in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, an 'exclusive economic zone' of 200 nautical miles from the coast. Under CFP, catch quotas are allocated for species individually, and distribute among the member states, who in turn distribute them to fishers. Most UK quotas are concentrated on few companies, and over half of the quotas are controlled by foreign-owned companies. The UK does not have the fishing capacity to fully catch their allowed quotas.
In March 2020, the EU linked negotiations on fishing policy to trade talks, while the UK wishes to keep them apart. A point to be negotiated is the length of the agreement: the EU expects a permanent agreement, the UK expects a Norwegian like annual agreement to be in line with biology of fish, aspirations of fishermen, and fisheries science. The EU may make concessions to Britain on fisheries contingent on British concessions on finance.
In exchange for a right for European trawlers to fish in British waters, France proposed in February 2020 that Britain should have the right to sell its fish and seafood products on the European market.
Dispute resolution and the European Court of Justice
The European Union expects a comprehensive trade agreement that covers trade, transport, foreign policy and fishing. Consequently, it believes, resolution of any dispute related to the interpretation of EU law could only be determined by the European Court of Justice.
The United Kingdom aims to obtain a 'comprehensive free trade agreement' (like the EU's CETA agreement with Canada) that does not include fishing, security, transport or energy. These matters, it believes, should be covered in a separate deal where 'appropriate governance arrangements', rather than European Court of Justice, would adjudicate.
The EU-Canada deal does not contain financial passporting. Also, the 'Most favoured nation' clause in CETA requires that every privilege given to the UK must also have to be given to any other country with which the EU has a free trade agreement, e.g. Canada and Japan.
Financial services made up 6.9% of the UK's GDP in 2018. The EU considers that it is alone allowed to establish its equivalence decisions (that the regulatory and supervisory environment of the prospective partner to be in line with its own) in its own interest, and may withdraw them at any time at short notice. The UK expects to maintain access to European financial services clients, avoiding future equivalence withdrawal decisions by the mean of appropriate consultation and structured processes. In June 2020, Michel Barnier said that the EU "will only grant equivalences in those areas where it is clearly in the interest of the EU: of our financial stability, our investors and our consumers," describing as unacceptable many of the UK's proposals.
Security and law enforcement
For the security and law enforcement matters, UK and EU issues include the European Convention on Human Rights, Europol, Eurojust, and the European arrest warrant. In April 2020, the UK's request to retain access to Europol and Schengen Information System databases (without ECJ oversight) met a frosty reception, especially in Germany. On 20 October 2020, in reply to a question from former Prime Minister Theresa May, Michael Gove (the minister responsible) reiterated his government's insistence that it would rather discontinue its access to these databases than accept ECJ oversight, even though Mrs May underscored their importance to Britain's security and law enforcement.
According to the UN Conference on Trade and Development, a trade agreement between the UK and the EU would help limit the drop of exports from UK to EU to 9%, while the expected decrease would be 14% in case of no deal.
Draft legal and treaty texts
- The large Sevington customs clearance facility and lorry park (the "Farage Garage"), being developed near Junction 10A of the M20, about 10 miles (16 km) from the Port of Dover.
- "UK and EU agree Brexit trade deal". The Guardian. 24 December 2020.
- Foster, Peter (29 April 2017). "EU Brexit guidelines: What's in the document, and what it really means". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
- Sandford, Alasdair (11 February 2020). "Post-Brexit Guide: Where are we now? *latest updates*". euronews.
- "UK will not extend Brexit transition period - Johnson's spokesman". Reuters. 6 January 2020. Retrieved 8 March 2020.
- Briançon, Pierre (11 January 2018). "Brexit trade deal will contain financial services, but UK may not like it". POLITICO.
- "Slide presented by Michel Barnier, European Commission Chief Negotiator, to the Heads of State and Government at the European Council (Article 50) on 15 December 2017" (PDF). European Commission. 15 December 2017. Retrieved 8 March 2020.
- Edgington, Tom (2 March 2020). "Which countries does the UK do the most trade with?". BBC News.
- Boffey, Daniel; Rankin, Jennifer (1 March 2020). "Brexit: what are the key flashpoints as EU-UK trade talks begin?". The Guardian.
- "Future EU-UK Partnership: European Commission receives mandate to begin negotiations with the UK (press release)". European Commission. 25 February 2020. Retrieved 10 March 2020.
- Ward, Matthew (16 December 2019). "Statistics on UK-EU trade" (PDF). House of Commons Library. Retrieved 5 March 2019.
- "Latest Eurostat data on international trade" (PDF). Eurostat. 14 February 2020. Retrieved 5 March 2019.
- "The Future Relationship with the EU" (PDF). Government of the United Kingdom. February 2020.
- Chen Weihua (1 February 2020). "Emotional send-off to give way to unsentimental talks". China Daily.
- Savage, Michael (23 February 2020). "UK and Brussels clash over post-Brexit trade deal even before key talks begin". The Guardian.
- Fox, Benjamin (25 February 2020). "Brexit deal will be 'difficult', Barnier says as ministers agree mandate".
- correspondent, Lisa O'Carroll Brexit (2 March 2020). "EU warns UK to tone down political rhetoric as trade talks start". The Guardian.
- John Campbell (25 February 2020). "Brexit: EU warns UK over goods checks between NI and GB". BBC News. Retrieved 10 March 2020.
- "UK threatens to walk away from EU trade talks 'if no progress within four months'". France 24. 27 February 2020.
- Daniel Boffey; Jennifer Rankin (5 March 2020). "Barnier warns of grave differences between EU and UK in trade talks". The Guardian.
- Lisa O'Carroll (12 March 2020). "UK and EU agree to 'dial down rhetoric' in Brexit talks. Both sides expected to produce legal texts of negotiating positions next week". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
- Daniel Boffey (13 March 2020). "Brexit: EU's demands in negotiations with UK revealed in draft treaty. Document highlights distance between two sides on issues including state aid rules". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
- "Future EU-UK Partnership: European Commission publishes draft legal text" (Press release). European Commission.
- Daniel Boffey (26 March 2020). "UK-EU talks on post-Brexit relations 'in deep freeze' : Brussels laments London's failure to table comprehensive legal text to work on". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
- Jim Brunsden (1 April 2020). "Brexit: lost in transition". Financial Times. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
- Daniel Boffey (2 April 2020). "UK government in row with EU over proposed office in Belfast: UK rejected initial request from Brussels during negotiations on post-Brexit Irish border controls". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 April 2020.
- Daniel Boffey (8 April 2020). "Brexit: UK plan to agree trade deal by December is fantasy, says EU. Leaked letter reveals scale of bloc's inability to function during coronavirus outbreak". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
- Weizhen Tan (7 April 2020). "Brexit trade deal gets tougher as coronavirus strikes officials on both sides". CNBC. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
"In all circumstances it’s very difficult to imagine how some sort of large scale trade deal between the U.K. and the EU gets done by the end of the year," said Amanda Sloat, a senior fellow at Brookings Institution.
- "Joint statement by UK and EU negotiators following the videoconference on 15 April 2020" (Press release). Government of the United Kingdom. 15 April 2020. Retrieved 19 April 2020.
- Naomi O’Leary (16 April 2020). "Britain rules out extension to clinch post-Brexit deal". Irish Times. Retrieved 20 April 2020.
- William Gritten (16 April 2020). "Brexit: the state of affairs as negotiations restart: Virtual negotiations will begin next week, but time is running out to agree a deal". The Week. Retrieved 19 April 2020.
On the table are the crucial issues of the future trade relationship, including security policy, trade rules and the contentious issue of fishing rights. Westminster has yet to produce any proposals on the politically charged issue of access for EU boats to UK waters - and it could yet prove an intractable issue.
- Katya Adler (24 April 2020). "Brexit: Disappointing progress in trade talks, says Michel Barnier". BBC News. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
Fishing, competition rules, the form of an eventual deal and what kind of mechanism would be used for disputes between the two sides. Those have been the screaming areas of disagreement between EU and UK negotiators from the start. And if they can't be resolved, the EU insists there will be no trade deal at all.
- Philip Oltermann; Daniel Boffey (24 April 2020). "Britain running down the clock in Brexit talks, says Michel Barnier. EU negotiator expresses frustrations at UK refusal to discuss key issues of transition". Retrieved 24 April 2020.
A UK spokesman [...] openly questioned the value of the deal being offered by Brussels when compared with a no-deal outcome.
- Daniel Boffey (26 April 2020). "Post-Brexit trade talks with EU on course to fail, Johnson warned. Prime minister expected to press EU leaders to dedicate attention to faltering negotiations". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
Boris Johnson is expected to push for an intervention from EU leaders in the faltering trade and security negotiations with the bloc after being warned by advisers that the current talks are on course to fail.
- Jim Brunsden (27 April 2020). "Britain and the EU revisit familiar misunderstandings on Brexit". Financial Times. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
- John Campbell (13 May 2020). "Brexit: UK government to enhance border checks at NI ports". BBC News. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
- "Brexit: UK warns 'very little progress' made in EU trade talks". BBC News. 15 May 2020. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
- Jennifer Rankin (13 May 2020). "UK-EU trade deal with tariffs impossible in six months, say diplomats. EU officials dismiss Michael Gove's suggestion deal could be done without longer transition". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
Giving evidence to the House of Lords EU committee last week, Gove said the government could “modify our ask” by giving up on a “zero-tariff, zero-quota” trade deal in order to keep the UK free from a duty to adhere to European standards on workers’ rights, environmental protection and state aid.
- "Our approach to the Future Relationship with the EU". GOV.UK.
- Jennifer Rankin (26 May 2020). "Brexit talks 'risk stalemate' if no progress on key issues. EU sources say union needs to see movement from Britain in terms of fair competition". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
Adding to pressure on Barnier not to concede on fishing rights, on Monday night the European parliament’s fisheries committee threatened to veto any deal with the UK that did not include a “balanced” agreement on fish quotas, allowing EU fleets continue access to British waters.“No fisheries agreement means no post-Brexit agreement,” said François-Xavier Bellamy, the French centre-right MEP – and member of Barnier’s Les Républicains party – who drew up a report that was adopted with near unanimity by the committee.
- Jim Brunsden, Mehreen Khan and George Parker (5 June 2020). "UK and EU look for compromises after Brexit talks end in stalemate". Financial Times. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
- Philip Oltermann (26 June 2020). "Angela Merkel: UK must live with consequences of weaker ties to EU. German leader signals trade compromise less likely as she hardens tone on no-deal Brexit". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
The UK will have to 'live with the consequences of Boris Johnson ditching Theresa May’s plan to maintain close economic ties with the EU after Brexit, Angela Merkel has said, hardening her tone over the prospect of a no-deal scenario at the end of the year.
- Daniel Boffey; Lisa O'Carroll (2 July 2020). "EU-UK trade talks break up early over 'serious' disagreements. EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier complained of lack of respect and engagement by UK". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
The two sides ended the week’s talks – the first held in person since February – a day ahead of the jointly agreed schedule amid evident frustration at the lack of progress in bridging what both Barnier and his UK counterpart, David Frost, described as “serious” disagreements.
- Daniel Thomas (1 July 2020). "Johnson warned by business on 'hugely damaging' no-deal Brexit. Letter signed by more than 100 company chiefs and entrepreneurs signals renewed concern over EU talks". Financial Times. Retrieved 1 July 2020.
Businesses 'simply do not have time or capacity to prepare for big changes in trading rules by the end of the year — especially given that we are already grappling with the upheaval caused by coronavirus' [the letter said].
- Daniel Boffey; Peter Walker; Lisa O'Carroll (23 July 2020). "Brexit trade deal is 'unlikely' by end of the year, says Barnier". "UK's David Frost also warns of prospect of no deal but insists agreement can still be reached". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
- Jennifer Rankin (21 August 2020). "Time-wasting UK makes post-Brexit deal unlikely, says EU chief; Michel Barnier says talks often go backwards not forwards as UK fails to grasp EU red lines". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
- Sam Fleming; Sebastian Payne (21 August 2020). "Michel Barnier accuses UK of wasting time in Brexit trade talks. EU's chief negotiator expresses concern at lack of progress in latest round of negotiations". Financial Times. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
- Mehul Srivastava; Alex Barker (16 February 2017). "Turkey border gridlock hints at pain to come for Brexit Britain. Truck drivers bemoan long queues and endless paperwork needed to enter EU". Financial Times. Retrieved 20 August 2020.
- Lisa O'Carroll; Peter Walker (2 September 2020). "Michel Barnier 'worried and disappointed' over Brexit talks impasse. EU negotiator says UK refusing to put proposals on the table on state aid or fisheries". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 September 2020.
- Heather Stewart; Lisa O'Carroll; Jennifer Rankin (1 September 2020). "No 10 blames EU and plays down prospects of Brexit trade deal. Spokesman for Boris Johnson says hopes of meeting deadline in December are dwindling". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 September 2020.
- Elgot, Jessica; O'Carroll, Lisa; Rankin, Jennifer (7 September 2020). "Brexit: Boris Johnson to override EU withdrawal agreement". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 September 2020.
- Reuters staff (26 August 2020). "Barnier says Brexit deal needed by late October to ensure safe ratification". Reuters. Retrieved 8 September 2020.
- "UK plan to undermine withdrawal treaty puts Brexit talks at risk". Financial Times. 6 September 2020.
- Boffey, Daniel; Elgot, Jessica; Stewart, Heather (7 September 2020). "Leaked EU cables reveal growing mistrust of UK in Brexit talks". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 September 2020.
- Elgot, Jessica; O'Carroll, Lisa (7 September 2020). "Downing Street defends Brexit plans for Northern Ireland". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 September 2020.
- Boffey, Daniel; Rankin, Jennifer (7 September 2020). "Von der Leyen warns UK against breaking international law over Brexit deal". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 September 2020.
- "Northern Ireland Secretary admits new bill will 'break international law'". BBC News. 8 September 2020. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
- "Statement by the European Commission following the extraordinary meeting of the EU-UK Joint Committee". European Commission. 10 September 2020.
- Kuenssberg, Laura (10 September 2020). "Brexit: EU ultimatum to UK over withdrawal deal changes". BBC.
- O'Carroll, Lisa; Boffey, Daniel (10 September 2020). "Brexit talks on brink as UK rejects EU call to drop law-breaking plan". The Guardian.
- April Roach (18 September 2020). "European Commission president 'convinced' trade deal can be secured despite Brexit bill row. "It is time now that our British friends restore the trust in the validity of a signature under treaty"". Evening Standard. London.
- Jim Brunsden (30 October 2020). "Negotiators hunker down in Brussels in search of Brexit breakthrough. Talks to continue in Belgian capital until at least Monday". Financial Times. Retrieved 1 November 2020.
- "Withdrawal Agreement: European Commission sends letter of formal notice to the United Kingdom for breach of its obligations" (Press release). 1 October 2020. Retrieved 3 October 2020.
- Daniel Boffey and Lisa O'Carroll (1 October 2020). "Brexit: EU launches legal action against UK for breaching withdrawal agreement. UK put on formal notice over internal market bill, which ministers admit breaks international law". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 October 2020.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
- "Statement by Michel Barnier following Round 9 of negotiations for a new partnership between the European Union and the United Kingdom" (Press release). 2 October 2020. Retrieved 3 October 2020.
- "European Council conclusions on EU-UK relations, 15 October 2020" (Press release). Secretariat of the Council. 15 October 2020.
- Daniel Boffey (15 October 2020). "EU leaders tell UK: accept our trade conditions or expect a no-deal Brexit. Macron insists there is no margin for negotiation over French fishing rights". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 October 2020.
- Lisa O'Carroll, Daniel Boffey, Peter Walker and Severin Carrell (16 October 2020). "Boris Johnson tells UK: prepare for a no-deal Brexit. Prime minister says EU must change its approach to talks if deal to be reached". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 October 2020.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
- "Frost withdraws Barnier invitation for talks as Brexit row deepens". Dublin: RTE. 16 October 2020. Retrieved 17 October 2020.
- Daniel Boffey (24 October 2020). "With the Brexit walkout and sulk over, is the UK on the home straight for a deal?. After a week of theatrics, the gaps are still significant and the deal at the end remains thin". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 November 2020.
- "COVID-hit businesses call for pragmatic approach to secure historic UK-EU agreement – CBI & TRADE ASSOCIATIONS". 18 October 2020. Retrieved 16 November 2020.
Now is the time for historic political leadership. With compromise and tenacity, a deal can be done. Businesses call on leaders on both sides to find a route through. The clarity that comes with an ambitious deal will have an instant impact on firms’ efforts to prepare. It will help investment by removing the threat of tariffs and quotas. And it will catalyse confidence through enhanced customs cooperation while making a precious data agreement possible, vital for services industries which make up 80% of the UK economy. Businesses are doing what they can to prepare for Brexit. But firms face a hat-trick of unprecedented challenges: rebuilding from the first wave of COVID-19, dealing with the second and uncertainty over the UK’s trading relationship with the EU. That’s why more than three quarters of UK firms say they need a deal, quickly. With each day that passes, business resilience is chipped away. A swift deal is the single most effective way to support recovery in communities across Europe. After four years of debate, there must be a resolution. 2021 can then be a year to rebuild, rather than regret.
- "Brexit: EU and UK negotiators resume trade talks in London". BBC News. 9 November 2020.
- "Brexit: Progress made in tough areas, says EU chief". BBC News. 20 November 2020.
- "Brexit: Trade talks in 'last chance saloon' with fish and state aid still sticking points, minister says". ITV News. 30 November 2020. Retrieved 30 November 2020.
- Daniel Boffey, Heather Stewart, Simon Murphy and Lisa O'Carroll (4 December 2020). "Brexit: Johnson and Von der Leyen to take over with direct talks. UK PM and European commission president to speak on Saturday after negotiators fail to reach agreement". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 December 2020.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
- Alistair Smout, Gabriela Baczynska (5 December 2020). "Britain in 'final throw of the dice' as EU trade talks set to restart". Reuters. Retrieved 10 December 2020.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
- Jon Craig (7 December 2020). "Brexit: Compromise appears off the menu for Johnson's Brussels dinner date". Sky News. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
- Daniel Boffey, Jessica Elgot and Jon Henley (9 December 2020). "Boris Johnson and EU set Sunday deadline to decide on Brexit deal. Significant gaps remain between PM and EU chief Ursula von der Leyen after Brussels dinner". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 December 2020.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
- "Joint Statement from European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson". European Commission. Retrieved 13 December 2020.
- Jon Stone (17 December 2020). "European Parliament sets Sunday deadline for approving Brexit deal this year. Leaders of political groups say they will not be rushed into approving a text". The Independent. London. Retrieved 21 December 2020.
- Daniel Boffey (20 December 2020). "UK faces Brexit limbo after talks deadline missed. Britain risks weeks without trade transition plans from 1 January after missing EU parliament Sunday deadline". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 December 2020.
- "EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement: protecting European interests, ensuring fair competition, and continued cooperation in areas of mutual interest". European Commission. 24 December 2020.
- "Brexit: EU ambassadors approve EU-UK trade deal". BBC. 28 December 2020.
- "Brexit: MPs overwhelmingly back post-Brexit deal with EU". BBC. 30 December 2020.
- Sandford, Alasdair (26 February 2020). "What are the UK-EU sticking points over a post-Brexit trade deal?". euronews.
- Sherwood, Harriet (23 February 2020). "What's the catch? British fishermen's hopes and fears for Brexit deal". The Guardian.
- "Brexit: fisheries" (PDF). House of Lords – European Union Committee. 17 December 2016. Retrieved 6 March 2020.
- Sandford, Alasdair (2 March 2020). "What are the sticking points in a post-Brexit UK-EU trade deal? | Euronews answers". Euronews. Retrieved 5 March 2020.
- Ares, Elena (30 October 2019). "Fisheries and Brexit". House of Commons Library. Retrieved 5 March 2020.
- Cecil, Nicholas (27 January 2020). "Leo Varadkar warns Britain may have to accept 'fish for finance' compromise in EU trade talks". Evening Standard. Retrieved 3 October 2020.
- Rhodes, Chris (26 December 2020). "Financial services: contribution to the UK economy". House of Commons. Cite journal requires
- Jim Brunsden (30 June 2020). "Barnier rejects UK bid to preserve City of London's rights via trade deal". Financial Times. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
- Philip Oltermann; Daniel Boffey (23 April 2020). "UK making 'impossible demands' over Europol database in EU talks". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
“It is nothing short of brazen by the British government to want to take part in Europe’s largest police database in spite of repeatedly breaking its rules,” said Andrej Hunko, a spokesman on European affairs for Die Linke, the German left party.
- Chris Morris (20 October 2020). "Brexit: Will the UK and the EU co-operate on security?". BBC News. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
- Didili, Zoi (20 March 2020). "EU-UK exchange draft legal texts on future relationship". New Europe.
- Child, David (19 May 2020). "UK publishes draft EU free trade agreement in bid to break Brexit negotiations deadlock". Evening Standard.