Brexit LIVE: ‘Make or break THIS WEEK’ as Boris loses temper with Barnier over fishing

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One Whitehall official close to the negotiations told Express.co.uk EU negotiators were behaving like “bulls in a china shop”. He added: “It’s make or break this week, we need a deal but the EU side seem to be difficult especially when it comes to fisheries. We need a deal secured as soon as possible but it has to be the right one for Britain.” 

Lord Frost is in Brussels for another round of negotiations ahead of a European Council video summit on Thursday, which has been touted as a deadline for a draft deal.

EU officials are pressing on fishing rights, how any deal between the two parties would be governed, and the “level playing field” measures aimed at preventing unfair competition on issues including state subsidies to be ironed out this week. 

But tensions are rising over the prospect of securing a deal on fisheries with Whitehall officials saying French President Emmanuel Macron was piling “on the pressure” as EU coastal states such as France fear they could lose out from UK demands. 

Speaking ahead of the talks, which follow a similar round in London last week, Lord David Frost said there had been progress in a “positive direction” in recent days.

However, he added the talks may not succeed and reiterated the point made by Boris Johnson that the country must be prepared for a departure with a deal or without.

Any deal struck would be subject to ratification by EU member states, the European Parliament and the UK Parliament meaning time is tight.

The agenda for Thursday’s meeting of 27 European leaders does not mention Brexit, with the response to the COVID-19 pandemic instead taking centre stage.

But with only one other meeting – between 10-11 December – scheduled before the end date of the transition period, they could be seen as a key moment in the shaping of the UK’s departure.

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7:30am update: Applications open for new Brexit free ports 

Proposals to develop up to 10 new free ports in the UK have taken a step closer with the Treasury inviting applications for the scheme.

Areas selected will benefit from a range of tax reliefs, including on the purchase of land, and the programme will create thousands of jobs, the Treasury said.

The bidding for free ports opens on Monday for seven spots in England, with the first expected to open in 2021.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “Our new free ports will create national hubs for trade, innovation and commerce, levelling up communities across the UK, creating new jobs, and turbo-charging our economic recovery.”

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