It is a nervous war that is currently going on between the UK and the EU. EU heads of state or government will meet in Brussels on Thursday and Friday to discuss how and whether a trade deal with Britain can be concluded before the end of the year. Negotiations between the two sides have made little progress for months. The meeting in Brussels should therefore also be about contingency plans in case the talks fail.
However, this is already known from the final phase of the exit agreement negotiations, which nearly exactly a year ago resulted in an agreement between London and the 27 EU states on issues such as border regulation on the island of Ireland and the rights of EU civilians on the island. : There are many tactics involved. Not only the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants to increase the price for an agreement on future trade relations as high as possible, but also the EU.
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Seen in this light, the announcement that the EU-27 also intends to discuss scenarios for a no-deal Brexit at the Brussels summit should be understood primarily as a signal to London: if necessary, the trade talks could also be stopped.
EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier has announced that negotiations should be concluded before the end of the month to leave enough time for ratification. Johnson, on the other hand, had demanded that there be an agreement by the upcoming EU summit or else he would leave the negotiating table.
The EU expects talks to continue at the end of October
Despite Johnson’s threat, there are many indications that the harsh, detailed talks about state aid to industry in the UK, future rules against social and fiscal dumping on the island or fishing rights in British territorial waters will continue after the Brussels summit. Ahead of the summit, French European minister Clément Beaune told FranceInfo that an agreement should be found in early November.
On the EU side, France is one of the countries that will notably ensure that after the end of the current transition phase from the beginning of 2021, Britain cannot deviate significantly from the environmental and social standards of the EU that so far in the UK. Countries that are also tough on this point include Italy, Portugal, Denmark and the Netherlands.
Beaune stressed that they did not want to make an agreement with London “at any cost”. “We will not sacrifice the interests of Europeans, our companies, our fishermen,” said the European minister.
Three bottlenecks: fishing, competition, dispute resolution
In addition to fishing and ensuring fair competition, there is a third question that is still very controversial: how should the EU and Great Britain settle disputes, given that Great Britain no longer wants the jurisprudence of the European Court of Justice accept? Little progress has also been made in the latest round of negotiations, as Barnier told EU European ministers who met in Luxembourg on Tuesday. It is therefore expected that the upcoming EU summit will serve the chief negotiator in Brussels with one goal: the French is keen to work with EU states to find out where to stay hard in the coming hot phase of the negotiations and where he can go to London. can still meet.
Green expert Brantner: Some EU countries are making too big concessions
Meanwhile, European policy spokeswoman for Greens in the Bundestag, Franziska Brantner, demanded that there should be no unfair competition at the expense of EU companies. “I see with concern that there are also tendencies among some EU Member States to go too far in negotiations with Great Britain on state aid law and environmental standards,” Brantner told Tagesspiegel. “Germany must support France closely when it comes to protecting the EU’s internal market,” she said.
Controversial Seehofer Paper on Future Relations in the Judiciary
The fact that Germany occasionally acts on its own in the post-Brexit negotiations, was according to Brantner last week at a video conference of the EU interior ministers. Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) distributed an informal document on behalf of the German EU Presidency on future cooperation with Britain in the field of justice and home policy, without consulting EU chief negotiator Barnier.
Moreover, according to the words of the Green politician, during the last weeks of the negotiations on the EU side, the fact that the result of the post-Brexit talks was also a signal to European right-wing populists such as the leader of the French party “Rassemblement National”. , Marine Le Pen. Right-wing populist movements could see their demands on their countries to leave the EU in the event of a deal beneficial to London. “It is not a normal trade agreement like with Japan or New Zealand, but a former member state,” said Brantner.