The U.K. and the European Union are on the verge of unveiling a historic post-Brexit trade accord after negotiators worked through the night putting the finishing touches to a compromise on fishing rights.
The agreement, which will formally complete Britain’s separation from the bloc four-and-a-half years after the 2016 referendum, will allow for tariff and quota-free trade in goods and cooperation in areas from security to aviation.
The outline of the deal was agreed on Wednesday, and an announcement is expected Thursday. At 7:30 a.m. in Brussels, chief negotiators were still working to nail down the exact wording of the final treaty in the European Commission’s headquarters. People familiar with the situation said they didn’t expect those discussions to derail the accord.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is planning a press conference after he has touched base with Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. U.K. officials had said Johnson could appear at 10 a.m. — but, with the talks continuing, the situation could change.
The U.K. cabinet held a conference call on the state of the negotiations late on Wednesday while European governments were briefed by officials from Brussels. The final document would still need to be approved by Johnson and EU governments, as well as parliaments on both sides.
Sources: Bloombergs, BBC, Sky, Reuters