EU's Offer Still Unacceptable

Reuters reports EU's Trade Deal Offer to Britain 'Remains Unacceptable'.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen both said on Friday that Britain was likely to complete its journey out of the EU in three weeks without a trade deal.

“Talks are continuing overnight, but as things stand the offer on the table from the EU remains unacceptable,” the British source said.

“The prime minister will leave no stone unturned in this process, but he is absolutely clear: any agreement must be fair and respect the fundamental position that the UK will be a sovereign nation in three weeks’ time.”

The two sides have set a deadline of Sunday to find agreement and prevent a chaotic break.

Deadline is Not Sunday

The deadline is not Sunday, December 13. The deadline is Thursday, December 31. 

Johnson Not Bluffing

In case the EU has not figured this out, Boris Johnson is not bluffing about a willingness to leave with no deal. 

Johnson was willing to bluff about not honoring the Withdrawal Agreement, but that was in response to a preposterous EU demand that Johnson give up all fishing rights and put itself at the mercy of the European Court of Justice in disputes.

Those are Johnson's hard lines and he will honor them.

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Deal Still Likely?

Despite what a flurry of articles say, I still suggest A Post-Brexit Trade Deal Now Looks Likely.

Please note that it's only December 9. There is plenty of time for more threats and more bluffs before a deal is reached. 

Even then it will not be the "final deal". It will be a bare bones WTO agreement of some sort with provisions to haggle for years to come.  

This is the only way the EU works, using the word "works" loosely.

The breakthrough on which I based my analysis was Johnson agreed to honor the Withdrawal agreement and the EU stopped its demands that Johnson could never agree to.

There now appears to be some EU backsliding.

If a deal does fall through, and it could, it will be a result of the EU underestimating the resolve of Boris Johnson once again.

So, despite the weakening  prospects, it still looks like a deal is more likely than not.

December 13 is just not close enough to the true deadline to matter much.

Mish