Brexit pettiness lingers: Here we were naively thinking the Brexit shenanigans were over after the EU and UK agreed to an eleventh-hour post-Brexit trade deal last month. We were wrong — the saga continues. Now, a new row has erupted after the Johnson government said it will not give the EU ambassador in London the same diplomatic status awarded to other representatives of nation states. Unsurprisingly, this announcement peeved Brussels, whose delegates enjoy full diplomatic status in at least 142 other countries. The UK says it will give the EU envoy the same privileges as those given to international organizations, which are subject to change and do not include immunity from detention and taxation given to diplomats under the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations. EU members are furious, with officials accusing London of simply trying to flex its muscles and engaging in "petty" behavior. The two sides will discuss the matter further when UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets EU representatives next week, their first face-to-face since the two sides settled the Brexit quagmire on December 31. Alas, the Brexit nightmare continues.
Let's be honest, who knows if 2021 will really be a better year than 2020.
On the one hand, you might say, "how could next year possibly be worse than this one?" On the other, 2020 has taught us that things can always — always — get worse.
But either way, YOU can always be a better YOU, and world leaders are, in principle, no different. Here's a look at the pledges that several world leaders are already making for the new year.
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Four and a half years after Britons voted to leave the EU, the missed deadlines and last-minute shenanigans are finally over. Just a week out from the December 31 deadline, when Great Britain would have crashed out of the European Union without a trade deal, the EU and the UK today announced they had reached an agreement on post-Brexit trade — the full details of which will become public in coming days.
"Time isn't the main thing. It's the only thing." The words of jazz genius Miles Davis are surely resonating with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who flew to Brussels on Wednesday to iron out a post-Brexit trade agreement before the UK formally leaves the European Union — with or without a deal — on January 1.
While it was the first face-to-face meeting between Johnson and European Commission chief, Ursula von der Leyen, since January, it's been four years since UK citizens voted in a referendum to leave the EU. Why has this been so hard to pull off?
As we enter the Brexit homestretch, here's a look at some key sticking points.
The UK has benefited from EU trade pacts with more than 70 countries. But if Britain can't reach agreement with the EU on a new trade deal before it formally leaves the EU on January 1, it could lose its preferential access to those markets. In preparation for such a scenario, the UK has signed dozens of new trade agreements, allowing countries to boost trade with the UK even after its departure from the European Union is finalized. It has also tried to prepare ground for a trade deal with the US, a process that's become more difficult with the election of Joe Biden. Here's a look at which countries and blocs have signed deals with the UK and the total value of each trade relationship.