If – as we now think – a Deal is to be announced at press conferences, a few thoughts...

First published in December 2020.

First, this was NOT always inevitable. There have been times when it looked like progress was impossible.

Second, this isn’t “the EU conceding at the last minute because that’s what they do” – because the EU hasn’t conceded. The outcome looks to be very close to the European Union’s opening offer.

Third, by leaving it so late, the short-term benefits of the Deal are not really going to be felt – businesses have no time to adjust. Check for phase in periods in the Deal.

Fourth, this Deal won’t solve the UK’s border chaos – as the UK is still leaving the Single Market and the Customs Union.

Fifth, the UK Government’s behaviour this autumn (Internal Market Bill) meant it lost trust in Brussels and national capitals. It starts its new relationship with its neighbours doubting it.

Sixth, there may be bumps yet. The European Parliament has to OK this in January, and without a deadline, may pose some tricky questions. They’ll be furious as Provisional Application was imposed on them.

Lastly, a mea culpa. My analysis throughout this phase leaned towards No Deal. That turned out to not be correct. There will be “I always knew this would happen” takes – ok, you are cleverer than me.🔷

John Worth, EU affairs writer and blogger.

[This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article on 24 December 2020 with the purpose of reaching a larger audience. It has been minorly edited and corrected, and published with the author’s consent. | The author of the tweets writes in a personal capacity.]

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