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Royal snub: How Kate Middleton is more like Queen than Diana

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge remain dedicated workers during the coronavirus pandemic, as they continue work from home. While vital, their latest activity is a far cry from their usually prominent public presence, which sees both of them command impressive influence. Royal experts insist the Duchess’ commanding presence is comparable to the Queen rather than Princess Diana, with whom she is compared.

Pundits often liken the Duchess to her husband’s mother, due to their shared grace and similar popularity.

She also often mirrors the style of the late Princess of Wales, notable especially following the birth of Prince George in 2013.

However, despite the wealth of similarities, royal experts believe she may have more uncommon than her grandmother-in-law.

Their observation comes from watching her as she grew accustomed to life as a working royal.

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Speaking to Yahoo UK, Victoria Murphy said her confidence has grown, making her increasingly “self-assured”.

She added the royal is still “more of a team player than leader”.

Ms Murphy said: “There is no doubt that Kate has hugely grown in confidence since joining the Royal Family.

“I think she still remains more of a team player than a leader though and perhaps more of a listener than a talker, but I think these qualities are well-suited to her current and future roles.”

“I’ve always thought that Kate has more in common personality-wise with the Queen; not an extrovert but quietly self-assured with a love of the outdoors and the ability to compartmentalise.”

Royal author Angela Levin came to a similar conclusion, noting her family’s role in bolstering her attitude.

She said: “Now she knows the ropes she is more relaxed.

“I also think that being a mother has made a huge difference to how she faces life as a royal.”

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While the Duchess of Cambridge might be more similar to the Queen, Prince William is much closer to the monarch.

Other royal experts have revealed she took interest in the heir to the throne from a young age.

Speaking to People Magazine, Robert Lacey, royal expert and historical consultant for The Crown, revealed the activities she shared with him in his early life.

He said: “There has always been a special closeness between William and the Queen, and she has taken a particular interest in him.”

“When William became a teenager, she would have him at Windsor Castle and would open the state boxes and guide him through the papers.

He added: “It was William’s constitutional education”.

When Prince William takes to the throne, the Duchess will take the Queen’s name, as the Queen Consort.

However, she will take her role by title only, as the Duke of Cambridge will take on her duties.

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Royal milestone: The milestone reached by Prince George AND Princess Charlotte today

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Prince George and Princess Charlotte celebrated a dual milestone today, as the royal tots navigate the unfolding COVID-19 situation. Theirs is the latest in a chain of landmark events for the Royal Family, which has continued work during the crisis. With the rest of the country, they have conducted their business from home, as have the Cambridge children.

They have had their lessons conducted from Anmer Hall in Norfolk, where the family has holed up during lockdown.

Today, July 3, the two children marked the end of two significant years of their schooling life.

Princess Charlotte, five, completed her Reception year from home.

Her brother, six-year-old heir to the throne Prince George, finished his junior year one.

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While the two children finished their education in lockdown, Government rules would have allowed them to return to school.

The Government allowed years one and six to restart their education on June 10 with social distancing measures in place.

Kensington Palace never confirmed whether either child would go back to physical lessons, however.

Rumours suggested the couple wanted to wait until both of their children could return together.

Although they have favoured homeschooling their family, the couple has spoken up about the challenges it poses.

Prince William spoke about trying to remember his own education, while Duchess Kate revealed the activities they had established.

Speaking in a Zoom call featured on BBC documentary Football, Prince William and Mental Health, he said: “Homeschooling is fun, isn’t it?

“You start to worry about how little you remember from your school days when you can’t do the maths questions at home.”

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Speaking on a separate BBC interview, the Duchess revealed she had kept up her children’s education through the Easter holidays.

She added she was surprised by their stamina as she discovered how much they could do in a day.

The Duchess said: “Honestly, you get to the end of the day and you write down the list of all the things that you’ve done in that day.

“So, you pitch a tent, take the tent down again, cook, bake.”

“You get to the end of the day — they have had a lovely time — but it is amazing how much you can cram into one day, that’s for sure.”

The Cambridge children can now enjoy the summer holidays with their younger brother Louis, two.

They will eventually have to return to school, however, as all year groups should go back in September.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson expects every child will return, but under strict coronavirus measures.

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Peter Phillips’ brutal warning about Zara exposed: ‘Don’t go near my sister!’

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Peter and Zara are the eldest grandchildren of the Queen and Prince Philip, and only three and a half years apart in age. Although their parents — Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips — divorced when the children were young, the pair remained close throughout their childhood. They are the Queen’s only grandchildren not to have royal titles, as Anne decided they would be able to pursue more normal lives without them.

In a joint interview with The Sunday Times from July 2018, Peter and Zara gave some further insight into their dynamic as royal siblings.

Zara explained how they had always been good friends.

She said: “When [my parents] separated, it was obviously sad, but the way they did it was not harmful to us.

“I don’t remember it as a painful time. And I had Pete.”

She also explained how the dynamic changed when she met her now-husband, Mike Tindall, back in 2003.

She said: “In the beginning of our relationship, Pete was very watchful of how Mike treated me.

“He wanted the best for me.”

She added: “Did I ever hook up with any of his friends. No way.

“It was the complete opposite: ‘Don’t go near my sister.’”

She said Peter was “very much the protective brother”, especially when she went through later hardships, such as her miscarriage.

Zara made it clear she adored her brother, stating she has “a huge amount of respect for Pete, for his work, for his role as a family man”.

She continued: “Pete is someone who I’ve looked up to all my life.

“When I was growing up he was a great person to have around, he was very level-headed, very calm, considered and grounded.

“He’ll be there no matter what I need.”

Pete reciprocated in showing his fondness for his sister through the interview.

He explained: “I have a huge sense of pride in Zara as an equestrian.

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“What she achieved at the age she did was remarkable.”

Zara has collected a whole array of medals throughout her horse riding career, including a silver medal from a team event at the 2012 London Olympics.

Peter also pointed out that she is now “an exceptional mother”, although he initially struggled to comprehend it when she had her first daughter, Mia, who is now six.

He told The Sunday Times: “If my daughters come close to achieving what Zara’s achieved, I’d be happy.”

Unfortunately Peter announced last year that he and his wife Autumn were separating.

He married Autumn in 2008 and they have two children together, nine-year-old Savannah and eight-year-old Isla.

Zara and Mike will be celebrating their ninth wedding anniversary on July 30, and apparently the former England rugby captain is planning a romantic date night with his wife to celebrate the occasion.

He told Good Morning Britain’s Lorraine Kelly this week: “Hopefully we’ll be able to do something.”

He added: “We might be able to get a date night in so that will be nice.”

In addition to their six-year-old daughter, the couple celebrated the birth of their second child Lena Elizabeth in 2018.

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Labour lunacy: Lisa Nandy calls for Blair and Brown statues beside Churchill

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The Shadow Foreign Secretary said the pair should be formally recognised with monuments to their achievements around climate change. Ms Nandy, who lost out to Sir Keir Starmer in the Labour leadership election, also said the party’s former foreign secretary Margaret Becket should be immortalised for her work in global disarmament. The Wigan MP’s comments came in a videochat on the LabourList website.

I’d love to see us putting up monuments to the work that Blair and Brown did

Lisa Nandy

She said: “I’d love to see us putting up monuments to the work, for example, that Blair and Brown did around making climate change the centrepiece of the G7.

“I’d love to see some kind of monument to the work that Margaret Beckett did around multilateral disarmament around the world.

“William Hague had a programme against ending violence against women and girls.

“That was really important and the Canadians have taken that up and you see it feeding into changes everywhere.

“I just think there are other things we should celebrate as a country because it says a lot about us.”

Her calls for statues to the Labour Part figures came during a discussion on UK foreign policy and its standing with the rest of the world.

She said: “If you walk into the Foreign Office one of the first things you’ll see are murals that depict Britain as the sort of the great, mighty warrior and then have some fairly appalling representations of other countries, particularly African countries, that just don’t reflect who we are and how we want to engage with the rest of the world.

“And I think there does have to be a conversation about that. Even Boris Johnson acknowledged that in a piece that he wrote for the Telegraph where he said we should be erecting new statues.”

All statues in Labour councils across England and Wales are being examined for links to slavery and plantation owners.

The statue of slave owner Robert Milligan at West India Quay in London’s Docklands was removed using a JCB last month.

Tower Hamlets council said it had removed the statue and had “also announced a review into monuments and other sites in our borough to understand how we should represent the more troubling periods in our history”.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said London’s landmarks – including street names, the names of public buildings and plaques – would be reviewed by a commission to ensure they reflect the capital’s diversity, with a view to removing those with links to slavery.

In Manchester, the council announced a city-wide review of all the statues in Manchester “to understand their history and context”.

Councillor Luthfur Rahman said residents would also be asked for suggestions on “missing” statues.

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The debate around statues returned to the agenda when Black Lives Matter protest ripped down a monument depicted slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol last month.

A statue of Scout movement founder Sir Robert Baden Powell was later removed from its plinth in Poole, Dorset.

The Prime Minister has expressed his opposition to removing a statue of Cecil Rhodes from Oxford University.

He told the Evening Standard he disagreed with the Oriel College’s decision to to take down its statue of the Victorian imperialist, as he was “in favour of people understanding our past with all its imperfections”.

Mr Johnson said: “I want to build people up, not tear people down. If we go around trying to bowdlerise or edit our history in this way, it’s like some politician sneakily trying to change his Wikipedia entry.”

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Wealth tax warning: Labour plot eye-watering tax for Brits to pay for coronavirus chaos

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In her first speech as Shadow Chancellor, Labour’s Anneliese Dodds urged Boris Johnson’s Government to look at a UK wealth tax to help the nation recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. She told the Government on Friday “to not increase taxes or cut support for low and middle-income people” during the crisis. But she said a “new settlement” is needed to address the injustice of the worst-off paying more tax proportionally than high earners, while the richest derive a significant part of their income from wealth.

She said: “For the very, very best off people, quite a bit of their money coming in is derived from wealth.

“I think we need to have that new settlement and actually the opinion data has indicated that has got a lot of support among the UK population.”

Ms Dodds also launched an attack on the “worrying” and “hands-off approach” taken by Mr Johnson and called for a for a “back to work Budget with a focus on jobs, jobs and jobs again”.

She said Mr Johnson’s approach was “muddled, confusing” and he was “much too slow” at protecting the nation’s health during the COVID-19 outbreak.

She called on the Government to adopt a “targeted strategy” in extending the furlough scheme to avoid a “flood of redundancy notices”, particularly for areas forced into local lockdowns such as Leicester.

But she said Labour would not back extending the job retention scheme – which has seen the Government meet up to 80 percent of workers’ wages – indefinitely, insisting it should be used to shore up specific sectors.

Ms Dodds said: “These support schemes should serve as economic sandbags, ensuring localised second waves of COVID-19 don’t wash away businesses and jobs in their wake.

“The reward for months of sacrifice cannot be a redundancy notice.”

But Ms Dodds backed the return to pubs as a boost for the economy, as she urged the Government to adopt a “targeted strategy” in extending the furlough scheme to avoid a “flood of redundancy notices”.

When asked if she would be going for a drink at the pub, she replied: ”I have two small children, I have to say maintaining social-distancing at the best of times is a bit of a challenge.

“I hope, however, people will be going out to make use of those new opportunities to support local businesses but of course we all need to make sure and I very much include myself in that, that we are following those guidelines at all times.”

Her remarks come after former cabinet secretary Gus O’Donnell, who served under David Cameron, Gordon Brown and Tony Blair, warned a wealth tax was more than likely.

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Speaking at an event hosted by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, he said: “We know that COVID has a very unequal impact.

“The economic impact is particularly hard on the young, women and those on lower incomes — that is going to create a feeling of ‘it’s not fair’.

“You’ve got a Conservative party and Prime Minister talking about the red/blue wall. How to get to the forgotten man. We’re talking about Franklin D Roosevelt.

“One nation conservatism. Lots of different things suggest to me that there might be more of an appetite fora wealth tax Than you might have thought politically from a Conservative government that came in with a manifesto that basically said no to all sorts of different tax changes.”

According to recent reports, Government officials are reaching out to high ranking bankers to discuss the potential of introducing a wealth tax.

This is reportedly being discussed to cover the costs associated with coronavirus.

According to recent analysis from the Office for Budget Responsibility, the UK Government will end up spending well over £100billion on stimulus’s packages over the course of the year.

This could mean wealth tax could be inevitable, given the Government’s commitments to not raise taxes elsewhere.

 

Simon Gorbutt, a Director of Wealth Structuring Solutions at Lombard International Assurance S.A., previously explained: “The measures being put in place by the Government to support the country through the COVID-19 pandemic will inevitably need to be paid for but a further bout of austerity will not be well received.

“That leaves increases in taxation as a very likely response to this problem.

“However, a manifesto promise to not raise income tax, VAT or national insurance is a crucial obstacle for the Conservative Government, as is the need to avoid the perception of placing a disproportionate burden on those in lower income brackets.”

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Schools rebellion: Headteacher REFUSES to fine parents under new coronavirus rules

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Michael Ferry of St Wilfrid’s Catholic School in Crawley, West Sussex, branded the Government policy of penalising parents as “ludicrous”. Mr Ferry spoke out after Boris Johnson vowed to make September’s return to school “the law” and slap fines on parents who keep their children at home.

I will not be fining parents in any way, shape or form and I think it’s ludicrous to suggest it

Michael Ferry

He told BBC Breakfast: “A significant amount of our community has been affected by the closure of Gatwick Airport.

 “If I fine parents £120, we’re effectively saying I’m taking away eight weeks worth of free school meal vouchers because that’s what it amounts to in stark terms.

“I will not be fining parents in any way, shape or form in September and I think it’s ludicrous to suggest it.

“If they make the decision that it is not safe or right for their child to come back, we will work with parents in partnership. But I will not be fining.”

Families have not been fined for refusing to send their children back to school during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Williamson said the Government would “have to take very specific action” if schools fail to reopen in September.

He also warned that every child will be expected to attend school in the autumn unless there is a “proper medical reason” for their absence.

Families could face a £60 fine for keeping their children at home without “good reason”.

This rises to £120 if not paid within 21 days and parents could end up in prison if prosecuted.

Mr Williamson told LBC: “It is going to be compulsory for children to return back to school unless there’s a very good reason, or a local spike where there have had to be local lockdowns.

“We do have to get back into compulsory education as part of that, obviously fines sit alongside that.

“Unless there is a good reason for the absence then we will be looking at the fact that we would be imposing fines on families if they are not sending their children back.”

The Government has also ordered headteachers to ensure remote learning is available to any child who does have to self-isolate after September.

Schools will have to keep children in class or year-sized “bubbles” and avoid creating “busy corridors” when all pupils return in September.

The back-to-school guidance has been developed in close consultation with the sector and medical experts from Public Health England.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Jenny Harries, said: “Thanks to the hard work of everyone, including our teachers and all school staff, there has been a decline in the rate of COVID-19 transmission in our communities.

“A child’s education is essential to their healthy development – we know that missing too much school can have a negative impact on children’s mental and physical wellbeing.”

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But a headteachers’ union has warned it will be “enormously challenging” for schools to keep children apart once they are back at school.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said: “The logistics of keeping apart many different ‘bubbles’ of children in a full school, including whole year groups comprising hundreds of pupils, is mind-boggling.”

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‘Prepare for no deal!’ Angela Merkel sparks huge Brexit panic in alert to EU states

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For the third day in a row, the German Chancellor insisted the bloc should be ready for Britain leaving its single market and customs union with no free-trade agreement in place. She said negotiations between the EU and UK had been accelerated and vowed to work towards a “good solution”. Speaking in the Bundesrat, Germany’s upper house, Mrs Merkel said: “With Great Britain we have agreed to speed up these negotiations to be able to agree on a deal in the autumn, which would then have to be ratified until the end of the year.

“I will continue to campaign for a good solution. But I have to add that we in the EU and in Germany, on all levels of our state, have to prepare for the case that there will be no agreement after this issue, that is worth defending the European idea.

“It is worth it to keep our Europe together. This is what I stand for. This unity will be more important than ever.”

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Princess Eugenie’s wedding had one surprising thing in common with this royal wedding

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Crown Prince Pavlos and Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary on Wednesday, and they shared a special moment from the celebration online. However, her caption revealed that their wedding had one surprising thing in common with Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank’s nuptials in 2018.

Marie-Chantal and her husband posed for a sweet photo at their family home in honour of the milestone anniversary.

The caption read: “25 years ago I married this gem!

“Loved every second of my life with you.

“Loved my flowers by Rob Van Helden who did our wedding as well,” she added.

The post showed the huge glass vase filled with pink, peach and green flowers sat on a counter alongside them.

Rob Van Helden is the London-based florist who provided the floral displays at Marie-Chantal and Pavlos’ wedding in July 1995.

However, he also provided the floral displays at Princess Eugenie’s nuptials in Windsor more than 23 years later.

Crown Princess Marie-Chantal opted for a classic bouquet of white roses on the big day.

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She also chose a vibrant of display of pink and red blooms outside her wedding venue.

Meanwhile, Princess Eugenie chose a seasonal display for her autumn nuptials featuring foliage and flowering branches sourced from Windsor Great Park.

She also chose a display of liquid amber trees, roses, dahlias and berries.

Rob has strong connections to the royals and has previously created beautiful floral displays for occasions such as Princess Margaret’s 70th birthday.

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The florist said he was on “cloud nine” after working at the royal wedding in 2018.

Speaking on This Morning, he told Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby that it had been “the cherry on the cake of the last 32 years”.

Crown Princess Marie-Chantal and Prince Pavlos of Greece married on 1 July 1995 at St Sophia’s Cathedral in London in front of 450 guests.

A further 850 guests watched via satellite at Hampton Court Palace, where the reception was held.

Notable attendees included the Queen, Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Charles.

Meanwhile, after the coronavirus crisis forced Princess Beatrice to postpone her wedding, Beatrice and Eugenie have been undertaking royal duties in lockdown.

Most recently the sisters took part in a zoom call with young people impacted by cancer.

During the call, they spoke with young people who are helped by the Teenage Cancer Trust.

The princesses are honorary patrons of Teenage Cancer Trust and spoke to six young people on the challenges they face each day which have been magnified due to lockdown.

Lakita Neille, who is supported by the Teenage Cancer Trust spoke of the difficulty in waiting when it comes to cancer and how lockdown has exacerbated that feeling.

She said: “When you have cancer you are constantly waiting, waiting for diagnosis, waiting for treatment, waiting for results, waiting for it all to end so life can get back to normal.

“Then when it’s all over, to be told you have to shield for an amount of time and can’t see the people you love and want around you again, that’s another chunk of time when you can’t do the things you’ve been waiting to do, it’s really difficult.”

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Kim Jong-un shock: North Korea relations with US to change in surprising way post election

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Americans are due to go to the voting stations later this year as they decide they would like to sit in the White House for the next four years.

Reports have put Joe Biden, Democratic nominee and Trump’s main rival in the presidential race, ahead in the polls so far. It remains to be seen who will be leading the nation on November 4 when voting concludes.

But according to Zhang Liangui, professor of international strategic research at the Central Party School in China, talks between the US and North Korea will restart either way.

Zhang told the South China Morning Post (SCMP): “If Trump is re-elected, he will begin dealing with North Korea again, and he’ll have two options.”

The professor explained that one of these options would be to continue applying pressure on North Korea to give up developing its nuclear capabilities.

But the other might be to allow North Korea to retain some of its nuclear arsenal and only crack down on long-range missiles.

Zhang added that “the US has come to realise that it would be good for them to leave a nuclear-armed country right on China’s doorstep”, and claimed that both the Democrats and Republicans in the US have a similar stance on China.

As such, he thinks the result would be the same regardless of which party is in charge.

Zhang also pointed to the North’s relation with China, telling SCMP that it could potentially pose a security threat to China, and highlighted its unstable relationship with neighbouring South Korea.

Despite the professor’s claims, Joe Biden in January this year said that he would not meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un unless there were “preconditions” in place.

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The Democratic presidential hopeful in January appeared to criticise Donald Trump’s past cordial relations with Kim, and has claimed in the past that meetings with the North’s leader were not effective in curbing its nuclear program, VOA reports.

Indeed, relations between North Korea and the US appeared to reach new heights when president Trump and Kim Jong-un met in 2018 to discuss defusing tensions.

The summit between the two leaders took place in Singapore, and it was the first time in history that a sitting US president and North Korean leader met face-to-face.

The following year, Trump set another milestone by stepping across the Korean border and onto North Korean soil side-by-side with Kim Jong-un in what was the third time the two leaders met.

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But although both leaders had initially agreed to work towards denuclearisation, nothing concrete ever came of the talks in terms of a nuclear deal.

And since then, talks have since stalled and relations appear to have darkened once again.

Indeed, North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Son-gown questioned last month whether North Korea and the US needed to continue “holding hands”.

In other news, on Wednesday this week South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in said he would like to see Trump and Kim meet again before the US election in November, according to a South Korean government official.

The official told reporters that Moon believed there was “a need for North Korea and the United States to try dialogue one more time before the US presidential election”.

They added that South Korea had reached out to the US with this sentiment in mind.

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Merkel fury: German Chancellor urges EU to prepare for no-deal Brexit in latest outburst

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The German chancellor’s comments came on Wednesday in a speech to the German parliament.

Merkel said that talks have so far produced “limited” progress, even after agreements from both sides that the negotiations should be intensified.

The German official said she would “continue to press for a good solution”, but added that both the EU and Germany should “prepare for the event that an agreement is not reached after all”.

Indeed, the most recent round of post-Brexit trade deal talks between the UK’s negotiator David Frost and his EU counterpart Michel Barnier concluded yesterday, with both later stating that little progress had been made.

Barnier said: “Our goal was to get negotiations successfully and quickly on a trajectory to reach an agreement.

“However, after four days of discussions, serious divergences remain.”

While Frost, on a slightly more optimistic note, added that although the week’s talks had been “comprehensive and useful”, they “also underlined the significant differences that still remain between us on a number of important issues”.

Trade talks have been at an impasse for several weeks, with competition rules understood to be a key sticking point.

Barnier said yesterday that the UK had set out demands including that the European Court of Justice have no future role in the UK.

The EU, meanwhile, has set about ensuring that the aforementioned competition rules are agreed and that “effective dispute settlement mechanisms” are in place.

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In high level talks a couple of weeks ago, Boris Johnson and EU presidents agreed that trade talks needed “new momentum” following the lack of progress.

Pressure has perhaps intensified following the Prime Minister’s assertion that the UK would not extend the negotiation period with the EU beyond this year, meaning that the new rules between the UK and the EU will come into force on January 1 2021 whether there is a trade deal or not.

Boris Johnson said last month that there was a “very good” chance of both sides avoiding such a no-deal scenario and clinching a trade agreement this year.

The prime minister even added that he saw “no reason” why a deal could not be reached by July.

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Businesses in the UK will likely be eager for an agreement either way soon rather than later, as it would give them time to prepare for whatever the situation may be come 2021.

Indeed, the EU is the Britain’s largest trading partner. More than half of UK imports in 2019 were from the EU, worth a total of £372 billion according to the House of Commons Library.

Conversely, the EU accounted for 43 percent of all UK exports last year, worth around £300 billion.

It’s perhaps particularly important for Wales, which exported a higher percentage of its goods to the EU in 2019 than any other region of the UK.

As such, it’s important to know what the rules might be when 2020 comes to a close.

The next round of UK-EU trade talks are due to commence on the week beginning July 20 – though it’s understood that “talks” will be continuing in London next week.

Meanwhile, the UK’s trade talks with Japan are steaming ahead in comparison.

It’s though that negotiations between the two countries could conclude as early as this month, with Japan’s chief negotiator to Britain, Hiroshi Matsuura, noting at the end of May that Japan wanted to secure a deal with the UK as a matter of “highest priority”.

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