An agreement is expected to be announced on Christmas Eve, according to UK government sources and European diplomatic sources on CNN. News of the possible deal was also reported by the PA news agency in the UK.
The announcement comes ahead of the December 31 contract deadline.
A senior source at No. 10 Downing Street briefed CNN on Wednesday night about the UK cabinet talks. Following that explanation, the source told CNN: “The talks on the legal text are expected to last until the early hours of the morning.”
European Commission chief spokesman Eric Mammer later said the final details would be washed away. At midnight local time, he tweeted: “#Brexit will continue to work throughout the night. It is recommended that all Brexit-viewers get some sleep during this time. It will be early tomorrow morning …”
Earlier on Wednesday, the No. 10 adviser told CNN that talks were “moving but not yet”. An EU ambassador agreed, saying on Wednesday CNN had a deal “could come today or tomorrow, but not yet”.
Any potential agreement will expire on January 1, 2021, and the UK will no longer be subject to EU rules.
There were concerns that the agreement would not be ratified before the change period expired; However, European companies, including the European Parliament, have agreed to work extra hours later this year to secure the deal.
Fears of having some balance in the approval of the contract at the end of the interim period were often removed by the fact that it was often possible to execute the trade contracts temporarily before they were approved, i.e. in a bad situation, the most serious damage could still be avoided.
But this turning point marks a major milestone in history that began in 2016 when the UK voted to leave the EU.
The Brexit debate will continue
In the UK, no agreement is likely to end years of toxic political debate over the country’s relationship with Europe.
Euroscopic lawmakers are already arranging for an agreement to prevent the UK from entering EU orbit. Meanwhile, the pro-Europeans believe that at some point in the future, the UK, perhaps under the new leadership, will be able to strengthen its relationship with Brussels.
Without a trade agreement, UK companies would lose access to the EU market of more than 400 million consumers without tariffs and quotas, and they would buy almost half of the country’s exports and provide a similar share of its imports. As for the EU, the UK is of far less importance, accounting for just 4% of camp exports and 6% of imports in 2019.
The Independent Agency for the Development of Economic Forecasts for the Government said in November that the UK would be poorer in the long run than it was in the EU, although any deal could have more economic impact than any other.
For now, the two sides are not hungry for more talks after years of painful disagreements.
Hannah Giadi contributed to this report.