UK & EU Nearing Eleventh Hour Brexit Deal

After a weeks, months and years of topsy-turvy Brexit negotiations, it looks like the UK and European Union may be about to strike a Christmas Eve deal.

Despite recent messaging that a ‘no-deal’ scenario was now the most likely outcome when the deadline passes at midnight on December 31, word out of both Downing Street and Brussels has changed overnight and it now seems terms are close to being agreed.

Legal text was finalized as the midnight oil burned yesterday, according to numerous reports including in the Financial Times, and a document that could reach hundreds of pages and upwards in length should be unveiled today.

“Grabbing some sleep is recommended to all Brexit-watchers at this point. It will hopefully be an early start tomorrow morning,” Eric Mamer, the European Commission’s chief spokesperson tweeted last night.

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One potential hitch could be EU fishing rights in UK waters, which has continually been a thorny topic during talks, but this is also expected to now be resolved.

The deal will preserve tariff-free trading between the UK and the EU and will also cover topics including security.

Any deal will need to be approved by parliament before it is ratified. That will not be made easier by the Christmas period and national holidays, but the FT is reporting MPs have been told to expect to convene for an emergency session on December 30. The European Parliament could potentially provisionally apply the deal and vote on it in 2021.

The impact a deal will have on the film and TV biz will not immediately be clear, and organisations will need days to wade through its details and ascertain the specifics, but industry circles have been nervous about the potentially nuclear option of a no-deal scenario, so today’s news is likely to provoke a mixture of positivity and trepidation.

Deal or no, the UK’s exiting of the EU is going to be disruptive for the creative industries, with the introduction of movement restrictions and visas and extra paperwork for productions. A deal, however, is expected to reduce the overall negative impact, such as making fewer business activities subject to work permits, for example.

Boris Johnson is expected to have a final call with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen this morning UK time. Deadline will keep you posted.

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