- Informed officials revealed that the negotiations have made some progress, but still face three major obstacles.
- The envoys of the EU member states were told that there was not much time left and that the negotiations might continue until December.
- EU may spend more than $10 billion to purchase health incident vaccines.
The European Union warned that the UK has not taken enough action to overcome the three major obstacles facing a post-Brexit trade agreement. The leaders of Belgium, France, and the Netherlands urged greater efforts to prepare contingency plans in case an agreement is not reached.
Informed officials revealed that the negotiations have made some progress, but still face three major obstacles.
The envoys of the EU member states were told that there was not much time left, and that the negotiations might continue until December.
An anonymous person familiar with the matter who attended the meeting said that at the meeting in Brussels on Friday, the envoys of the 27 EU member states were told that progress is slow and that the current negotiations may be delayed until December.
Since they were not authorized to speak publicly, people familiar with the matter requested anonymity. Meanwhile, the pound narrowed its earlier gains.
“After difficult weeks with very, very slow progress, now we’ve seen in the last days better progress,” Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told reporters in Brussels on Friday. “But there are quite some meters to the finish line.”
Officials said that the negotiations are at a delicate stage, and the special envoys of the member states have not been informed of the details, so as not to disrupt the negotiations and put possible compromises at risk.
Although the EU has been talking about the three aspects of fisheries, a level playing field, and the way the agreement is implemented for several weeks, the reality seems more subtle. People familiar with the negotiations revealed that both sides made concessions and made some progress recently.
“The whole team is engaged and working tirelessly day and night to indeed reach the natural deadline,” von der Leyen said. “We have to be done by the end of the year.”
Two EU officials said that some progress has been made in state aid, but in other areas of fair competition, including ratchet clauses, the UK is still resisting EU pressure. If EU law changes in the future, this clause will force the UK to raise its legal standards in the field of environmental and social security.
The official revealed that in terms of fisheries issues, the two sides are still unable to reach a consensus on the fishing quotas of EU ships in British waters. In terms of governance, the two sides have not yet reached a consensus on cross-retaliation clauses.
EU May Spend More Than $10 Billion to Purchase Health Incident Vaccines
According to reports, the head of the European Commission stated that the EU may conditionally approve the sale of Pfizer (PFE.US), BioNTech (BNTX.US) and Moderna (MRNA.US) health incident vaccines in late December.
According to people familiar with the matter, the European Union agreed to purchase 300 million doses of its vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech at a price of $18.30 per dose, which is lower than the United States paid.
In addition, the EU will also purchase vaccines from the German company CureVac, which means that the EU may spend more than $10 billion on vaccine purchases.
At present, in addition to the above companies, the EU has also signed vaccine supply agreements with AstraZeneca (AZN.US), Sanofi (SNY.US)/GSK (GSK.US), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.US), a total of about 1.2 billion doses of vaccine have been ordered.
It is reported that the European Commission President Von der Leyen said that the Commission hopes to reach a vaccine supply agreement with Moderna soon and is negotiating with Novavax Pharmaceuticals (NVAX.US).