But in the background, the two sides negotiated via videoconference – it`s not an ideal forum for such delicate discussions. The UK government continued to reject EU demands for competition regulation (“fair competition conditions”) and fisheries on the grounds that they did not respect the UK`s national sovereignty after Brexit. Meanwhile, the EU insists that there will be no agreement without agreement on fisheries and competition rules. It wants to limit the UK`s ability to reduce, for example, environmental or labour standards, in order to prevent British companies from becoming more competitive in their own market than European companies. Ministers say legislation is needed to prevent “damaging” tariffs on goods travelling from the rest of the UK to Northern Ireland if negotiations with the EU for a free trade agreement fail. While the background music on whether the EU believes that the Offer of No. 10 of The No. 10 on Alternative Arrangements for Northern Ireland could form the basis of a Brexit deal is not quite “dead in the water,” it looks very promising. Boris Johnson has tried to choose individual European heads of state and government to create divisions in the ranks of the EU-27 (at least so far firmly – see below): his call to President Macron yesterday was rejected by saying that “negotiations with Michel Barnier`s team should continue quickly in the coming days in order to assess at the end of the week whether it is possible to conclude an agreement in accordance with the principles of the European Union.” Given that the EU summit will take place next week, such an important decision by the EU in deciding whether it sees the agreement as a detailed end to negotiation (the so-called `tunnel` process) is a sign that the EU may have taken the private decision not to consider the proposals as the basis for an agreement, without significant concessions from London this week. Juncker`s meeting was clearly level 1 (1 hour from the deadline: read the test issue for the first time; slight panic) So these are virulent issues in the negotiations that are important to Johnson, Cummings and their understanding of what Brexit means. But it is still too early for the prospects of an agreement to be dead.

As last year`s Brexit drama showed, Johnson shows how his great admirer across the Atlantic also likes to show that he understands the art of the deal.

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