Going the extra mile in the Brexit marathon

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen are still not giving up: the talks on a Brexit with trade agreements are being extended once more, the two leaders agreed in a telephone call on the weekend. Commentators in Europe have serious doubts about whether there is any point to prolonging the wrangling.

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The Spectator (GB) /

No deal already a done deal

Further negotiations are useless from an economic point of view, The Spectator believes:

“Finally, with no deal already priced into sterling, and with most companies having already been forced to make preparations, there is vanishingly little upside left to a free trade agreement anyway. ... In truth, there is a hit to the UK economy from not reaching a deal with the EU. But at this stage it is relatively minor. The costs have already been absorbed. There may be some political benefits to continuing the talks, but the economic advantages have already evaporated. It would be better to move on with building a post-EU economy rather than dragging on the discussions indefinitely.”

La Vanguardia (ES) /

Extra time means there's still hope

The whistle has not been blown on this game yet, La Vanguardia counters optimistically:

“In the history of the EU it is not the last-minute decisions that are frequent, but those that are reached in extra time. Many fear that the 18 days remaining until the end of the year will not be enough for a decision - whatever it may be - to be ratified by the national parliaments too. But should white smoke rise at the end, the miracle of avoiding a hard Brexit would still be possible.”

News.bg (BG) /

Brussels must not cede any more ground

News.bg explains why the EU can't make any further concessions to London:

“Brussels has already granted London's wish for a 'soft' Irish border. So any further concessions would be seen as a weakness. ... The inability to conclude a (satisfactory) economic deal with the world's fifth largest economy doesn't look good at all. ... But Brussels is unlikely to be happy with an agreement that's reached through concessions on all key issues. It would signal to any member state that decided to leave the European Union that it could get away with it.”

NRC Handelsblad (NL) /

Racing into chaos

The haggling right up to the last minute shows how ill-considered Brexit was from the start, NRC Handelsblad laments:

“The entire course of events underscores the fact that Brexit is an ill-advised project. ... But the duration and volatility of the negotiations also show how ill-considered and uncontrolled this adventure was from the start, how unstable the political and social basis, and how surprised London has repeatedly been by the consequences. This is and remains unforgivable, also as far as the citizens are concerned.”