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EU Council summit: expert comment from Professor Abhinay Muthoo

The European Council is holding a summit from 15-16 October, at the same time as the Prime Minister's deadline for a post-Brexit trade deal. Professor Abhinay Muthoo of the Department of Economics expects that the trade negotiations will be on the agenda, but comments that a deal is still unlikely to be struck until later due to the 'deadline effect' of negotiations.

Professor Muthoo said: "The EU Council meets today and tomorrow. One agenda item will be to discuss the state of play of the trade negotiations with the UK. We still don’t have signs of a deal. The few hugely difficult issues that were there months back are still there now. Fish is one of them. More precisely, EU countries’ access to UK’s waters is a tricky issue. Mainly, in particular, for the French fishing industry. It’s less of an issue for many other EU countries who don’t fish in UK’s waters, such as Germany.

"The negotiations will most certainly continue after this week, and into next month. This is contrary to the UK PM Boris Johnson’s statement last month of 15th October being his deadline for signs of a deal. It makes sense to allow a further month of negotiations to try to reach compromises on the few remaining difficult issues. In particular, now will be the time for (serious) internal negotiations amongst the leaders of the 27 EU countries, especially between President Macron and Chancellor Merkel, to find ways to agree on how best to compromise.

"Both parties, UK and the EU, know that a deal is much better for both than no-deal. Not surprisingly, the hardest issues have been left to the last hour before the deadline. This is the moment of leadership and great political compromises (on both sides), at the 11th hour of the negotiations. I remain optimistic that a deal will be struck but probably not till next month. This is yet another evidence of the so-called “deadline effect” of negotiations – that, if a deal is reached, then it is reached only close to the deadline."

15 October

Contact:

Peter Thorley
Media Relations Manager (Warwick Medical School and Department of Physics)

Email: peter.thorley@warwick.ac.uk

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