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The EU is set for a humiliating U-turn over Brexit mini deals – just 24 hours after Brussels blocked any hope of such deals being drawn up. RTE’s London correspondent Seán Whelan said that the economic pressure on EU leaders will force Brussels to back down to the UK’s mini deal demand. This comes after EU sources warned now “is not the time for side negotiations on mini deals”.
Speaking to the Brexit Republic podcast, Mr Whelan said: “No deal is still a very live prospect here.
“If the talks collapse, the UK will absolutely blame the EU.”
He suggested that “one of the tactics being explored on the British side is not to bother with an overarching deal that ties you up in a level-playing fields”.
Instead, UK negotiators are looking at finishing up the talks and leaving without a deal.
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Mr Whelan explained: “They would take the shock of the customs and tariffs, which could be masked by the economic shock already caused by Covid.
“They would come back after Christmas, sometime in the new year, and start looking for mini deals.
“They would start off with a bare bones free trade agreement to keep trade flowing, then do an aviation agreement, an energy agreement, a fisheries agreement, as and when.”
The EU have “completely rejected” this proposal all the way through the talks, according to Mr Whelan.
However, the RTE correspondent added: “But if the talks process is smashed to pieces, then picking the pieces one by one may be the only process left.
“In that case the EU may just have to do mini deals, one after another, if for no other reason than you will have the screams of various industrial sectors ringing in your ears.”
This comes after Brussels sources that a number of influential EU states have called on the European Commission to ramp up the preparations for a no-deal Brexit at the end of the year.
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But in a private meeting on Friday after the latest round of talks, senior diplomats insisted any measures must be unilateral and not help Britain avert potential disruptions in the New Year.
A source said: “We need to revive our contingency planning from last year. This needs to go through the European Parliament and Council – time is getting tight.
“It is not time for side negotiations on mini deals.”
Earlier today confidential notes from EU meetings reveal that European Union officials think a Brexit deal is 95 percent agreed.
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