Brexit talks enter another week of high drama

The UK-EU Brexit negotiations are another dramatic moment as the time to full withdrawal from the bloc is running out. Here we look at the developing situation.

– Hasn't the UK already left the EU?

The UK officially withdrew in January but said it would comply with EU rules for a transitional period until the end of the year as a hoped-for trade deal was resolved.

– What's happening now?

Negotiations have made slow progress and have proven bitter at times, with both sides sniffing at each other's attitudes.

– What are the main sticking points?

Trade relations between Great Britain and Northern Ireland are an important issue alongside areas such as fishing rights, government subsidies and civil rights.

Cabinet Secretary Michael Gove
Cabinet Secretary Michael Gove (Aaron Chown / PA)

– What's happening now?

Cabinet Minister Michael Gove is in Brussels on Monday for talks with the Vice-President of the European Commission, Maros Sefcovic. The ninth round of negotiations between London and Brussels begins on Tuesday.

– What are you going to discuss?

The withdrawal agreement is likely to play a big role as Brussels has reacted strongly to controversial provisions in legislation announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson that override elements of the Brexit divorce deal on UK-Northern Ireland trade within the UK.

Mr Sefcovic, co-chair of the EU-UK Joint Committee, called for the move to be halted by the end of September as the UK would take legal action for violating international law.

– Has the Johnson administration withdrawn?

No. The controversial British draft single market, which contains the measures, returns to the Commons on Tuesday despite heavy criticism from former Prime Ministers Theresa May, David Cameron, Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and Sir John Major.

Vice President of the EU Commission, Maros Sefcovic
Maros Sefcovic, Vice President of the EU Commission (right) (Stefan Rousseau / PA)

The government's admission that such action would violate international law has worried the Tory Banks, and a move by the government to give MPs a say on whether the measures will be implemented at a later date may be enough do not stop a vote against or an abstention.

– When will the crunch time for the Brexit talks come?

Both sides have stated that an agreement must be concluded by mid-October so that ratification is possible before the end of the year.

An EU summit on October 15 should be important.

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