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Brexit trade talks are coming down to the wire with days left to agree to a deal in time for an agreement to be ratified in time by the end of the year. The UK formally left the European Union on January 31, launching an 11-month transition period which concludes at the end of the year. This week is a pivotal week for Brexit, as negotiations reach their final phase, but when is the Brexit deal deadline?
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is self-isolating at Downing Street after being told to do so by NHS Test and Trace.
Six Conservative MPs and two political aides are also self-isolating after a breakfast meeting inside Downing Street last Thursday, after which one of the MPs tested positive for COVID-19.
In a video shared with the nation, the Prime Minister urged members of the public to “follow the rules” if contacted by Test and Trace officials.
His need to quarantine comes at a critical week for post-Brexit trade negotiations.
A Brexit deal has yet to be agreed between the EU and the UK.
Talks have been stalled in recent months amid the coronavirus pandemic and the sticking points of a deal with both sides unwilling to compromise.
The main obstacles and sticking points to securing a deal are the fair competition rules and fisheries.
The EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) means the fishing fleets of all UK and EU countries have full access to each other’s waters, except for 12 nautical miles out from the coast.
But this would change with Britain’s official departure.
The level playing field relates to a set of common rules and standards which prevent companies in one country from getting a competitive advantage over those operating in other countries.
This week is a pivotal week for Brexit, with European Council video summit due to take place on Thursday.
The EU’s chief negotiator and his British counterpart Lord David Frost will continue negotiations with just over six weeks to go until the end of the transition period.
Originally, the deadline for a deal was mid-November.
However, officials have now extended this deadline and expect talks to continue this week in Brussels.
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When is the Brexit deal deadline?
The next informal deadline suggested by EU officials is the video conference of European leaders by Thursday.
If a deal is not struck by November 19, Brussels will put forward a contingency plan to prevent a cliff-edge scenario set out in the case of a no-deal exit, according to an EU official.
EU officials say stretching the deadline even further makes ratification for Brussels before the end of the year almost impossible.
One EU diplomat told Politico: “EU countries need time to scrutinize the text.
“The role of EU member states is more than just endorsing the deal. If that’s what the European Commission has in mind, it will be disastrous.
“This is a delicate and fragile process, which the UK doesn’t seem to understand.”
Last Thursday, a Downing Street spokesman said: “We have been working hard to get a deal with the EU, but it has to be one that respects the U.K.’s sovereignty.”
Both sides have agreed that Monday, November 23, is now the new deadline for a trade deal between the EU and UK.
A source told the Sunday Times: “If a deal happens, we think it will be early that week.
“It could conceivably go another day or two, but I don’t see how it can go any longer than that.”
Ahead of talks this week, the UK’s chief negotiator Lord Frost said he was not prepared to compromise on his core principles to get a Brexit deal ahead of the deadline.
On Twitter, he wrote: “That has been our consistent position from the start and I will not be changing it.”
Lord Frost said any settlement had to be “compatible with our sovereignty” and take back control of “our laws, our trade and our waters”.
Over the weekend, the Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said this week was “move week”, with both sides needing to compromise.
Mr Coveney told Sky News: “We’ve got to make big progress.
“I certainly hope that won’t be the case, it will be extraordinary if it does, but I think that it is possible.”
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