While Brexit trade talks between the EU and UK have slipped from the headlines, they are continuing between officials, and without political interference they are working through the difficult areas.
These include fishing access, where the EU and France have now acknowledged the need for compromise. This is likely to be the springboard for Boris Johnson to claim success, but he will be seen to have given way on most other issues.
What is likely to emerge is an outline deal, sufficient to maintain trade after the end of the year but with the detail still to be agreed.
Timing will be all, so that both sides can claim they stuck to their principles, while acknowledging the economic recession both face because of coronavirus.
The European Commission has confirmed it is setting up an online portal to speed the customs process for third countries dealing with the EU.
This could affect the UK, depending on the shape of trade deal negotiated over Brexit.
The announcement also confirmed that the EU is the world’s biggest trading bloc, well ahead of the United States with 15% of global trade. This underlines the need for the UK to have sound trade arrangements with the EU, with UK sales to Germany alone greater than its total trade with the United States.
Meanwhile, farmers have become used to the mantra that meat consumption is in decline, because of changing consumer habits and the influence of the environmental lobby.
However, the Netherlands has reported an increase in per capita meat consumption by a significant 0.5kg per head last year.
Researchers said this was down to the fact that while people may talk about eating less meat and even practice a flexitarian diet at home, eating out is still linked to meat consumption.
This positive trend could be reversed in 2020 due to reduced tourism and the many months Covid restrictions have forced the closure of restaurants.
Meanwhile, the European Commission has confirmed that Belgium is now free of African swine fever, paving the way to reopen exports.
There is no apparent reason for this success; the disease seems to have disappeared rather than to have been eradicated.
Elsewhere in the EU, and particularly in Germany, it remains a major problem and threat.