six months of the deadline, while negotiations post-Brexit are in deadlock, the leaders of the EU meet Boris Johnson, virtually, on Monday after-noon, to restore their breath. Because the failure of these negotiations would lead straight to a "no deal" to the potentially devastating effects. "The EU is ready to intensify talks, we are available 24/7, insists on Twitter the president of the european Commission Ursula von der Leyen. Inject a new impetus to the negotiations. "
This meeting has always been considered as an opportunity to move the negotiations forward, " said a responsible british. "It is necessary now that (the question) to be resolved in order to give visibility to the business community" in the United Kingdom, as in the EU "as soon as possible," he added.
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This is the first time since the departure of the United Kingdom, on 31 January, is that Boris Johnson is personally involved in the discussions. The EU will be represented by the president of the european Commission Ursula von der Leyen, and the chairmen of the Board Charles Michel and the Parliament, David Sassoli. The european negotiator Michel Barnier will participate also. After four rounds of discussions since march, the state of the scene is easy to sum up : the British and the Europeans encamped on the positions irreconcilable, preventing any progress. "There is nowhere" sums up a senior european official.
formal Denial to extend the period of transition
As for the possible extension of one year, or even two, of the transition period, which ends December 31, 2020, the Uk has ended up the topic of Friday, the meaning of "formally" to the EU for its refusal to extend it, as he had not stopped repeating this since months. Therefore, except coup de theatre, this "high-level conference" – its official name – should especially take note of the differences. And to reiterate the willingness of the two sides of the Channel to avoid a "no deal" disastrous for economies already hit by the pandemic Covid-19.
London and Brussels have already agreed, prior to the meeting, to accelerate the talks. The calendar is full for July, with meetings every week, sometimes in Brussels, sometimes in London, the most in a select committee, to move forward on the folders that are the most conflicting. Among them, the guarantees of fair competition in tax matters, social or environmental (the " level playing field ", editor's NOTE), required by the EU, which fears seeing an economy that is deregulated at his door. But also the settlement of disputes between the two parties or the question of explosive fishing.
"It takes two to tango"
As many issues to deal with before the October 31 deadline set by Michel Barnier to allow time for member States and the United Kingdom to ratify any agreement that would come into force on January 1, 2021. Lack of compromise, the only rules of the world trade Organization (WTO), with their high tariffs and customs controls, would apply to commercial relations between the former partners. A perspective that panics the european employers association Business Europe, "extremely concerned" by the state of the negotiations.
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But for the mep for the belgian Philippe Lamberts, member of the coordination group of the european Parliament on the Brexit, the "Europeans are making a mistake of analysis" when they think that a compromise will be necessary for him-even in the face of the economic risk, that is not a "qualifier" for the pro-Brexit. "I think that it is wrong love story. To have an agreement, it is to be hoped pretty much the same thing, " added the boss of the environmental group this weekend on the RTBF. "It takes two to tango,' he echoed on Monday a british secretary of State for trade, Greg Hands, on German public radio, reminding us that London is not required that a business relationship is classic like the one that binds Canada and the EU.
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