Euronews 4 Dec 2020

Brexit talks paused after London and Brussels fail to reach agreement - Michel Barnier


Brexit talks have been put on pause after London and Brussels failed to reach agreement, according to Michel Barnier.

The Liverpool coronavirus testing pilot failed to reach the city's poorest residents, raising questions about the scheme's effectiveness, leaked documents have revealed.

Half a million people were offered tests in November, including a new form of rapid lateral flow testing, carried out by NHS staff and the army.

It was the first city-wide scheme of its kind and a dry-run for Boris Johnson's "Operation Moonshot" - a billion-pound plan to provide regular, nationwide COVID-19 testing.
Talks on a post-Brexit trade deal have been paused without an agreement - less than a month before the transition period comes to an end.

The UK's lead negotiator David Frost and his EU counterpart Michel Barnier said that "significant divergences" remained.

Boris Johnson and the President of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen will now discuss how to move forward.

Jane Hill presents BBC News at Ten reporting by deputy political editor Vicki Young and Europe editor Katya Adler.
Britain and the European Union failed on Friday to secure a trade agreement, saying talks would be paused so negotiators could talk to politicians to get better guidance on where to go next.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has announced that Brexit negotiations will carry on beyond today's deadline, adding that it was "responsible at this point in time to go the extra mile," after talks with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Today's deadline was the last in a series of self-imposed cutoff dates, as the end of the UK's transition period on December 31 is drawing ever closer. The EU's Michel Barnier and the UK's David Frost had started talks just after dawn in a bid to reach agreement in negotiations, which have been running for almost a year. Frost reportedly left the talks after 1 1/2 hours to return to the UK diplomatic mission in Brussels.
The UK insists that it should trade with the bloc with as few restraints as possible. The EU demands that Britain stick to EU rules to ensure fair competition. The UK claims the EU wants to thwart Britain's status as an independent and sovereign nation. The EU, in turn, fears that Britain could drastically lower its social and environmental standards, thus becoming a low-regulation economic rival hovering at its margins.
Without a deal, the UK will have to trade with the EU under World Trade Organization rules — a system British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has euphemistically called the "Australian" model. Johnson, who has said it was "very, very likely" that negotiations will fail, insists the UK will thrive whether or not a deal is reached. But if no deal is reached, chaos looms on January 1st.

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