A week ago, an EU summit actually wanted to approve a Brexit follow-up agreement with Great Britain. Instead, the 27 Heads of State or Government had to decide: “The European Council recalls that the transition period will end on 31 December 2020 and notes with concern that progress on key issues of particular interest to the Union is still not going on an agreement is sufficient. “
Negotiations in mirage mode
Since then, the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has indicated several times that he doesn’t care about the worries of his European colleagues. The EU still serves him to the point of self-denial. Council President Charles Michel has just announced again in the European Parliament: “Time is very short. We are ready to negotiate on all topics 24 hours a day. “
The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, was no longer even allowed in in London. But then on Wednesday an apparent change of heart: Great Britain wants to continue the stopped talks on a Brexit trade agreement with the European Union, the British government announced.
The mirage negotiations apparently continue. Even next year, after the chaos of a hard Brexit had begun, an agreement could still be struggled with, was already heard in Brussels. Why is the EU clinging to the apparently unreal hope that its efforts may not be in vain? Because people in Brussels want to know that there is a play going on in London. The chairman of the group of the conservative European People’s Party in the European Parliament, Manfred Weber, bluntly called it that.
Begging with Boris
In truth, according to EU diplomats in Brussels, there has recently been movement on almost all points of contention, but unfortunately not yet with the darned fishing rights. And even on this sensitive issue, EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier had found compromise lines last week, including within the EU’s own ranks. So what is the theatrical thunder from London? Johnson critics in Brussels still see this as an attempt to tease out maximum concessions from the EU in a very, very last round of poker.
If this is the British’s calculation, then he has hit the wrong person in the person of Michel Barnier. The Frenchman has repeatedly emphasized that there will be no agreement at any price. For Johnson it is obviously important domestically to make the situation appear as if everything depends on him, if he hears the EU by begging for further talks – or not. He is looking for the big entrance; At first it does not seem to be about factual issues. But they are in abundance on the negotiating table.
London conjures up a “restart” of its own economy
If they remain unfinished, the consequences could also be serious for the German economy. According to a study by the auditing company Deloitte, sales of German companies in the British market have already fallen, by almost 24 billion euros or twelve percent since 2015 and exports by almost seven billion or six percent. But the greater damage is being done to the UK economy, which is far more dependent on business with mainland Europe than the EU is on exchanges with the UK. The London government is preparing local companies for an emergency which they euphemistically call “new start”. If it turns out to be a belly landing, smear comedian Johnson is responsible for a tangible tragedy.
Theatrical thunder for a villain play
The EU, on the other hand, has offered him a post-Brexit existence with a privilege that it has not yet granted to a third country: quota-free and duty-free access to its internal market. It is fair and fair that rules must apply to this, for example so that no goods of dubious quality can enter this market as imports via the United Kingdom. It is also the fact that Great Britain wants to be in charge of fishing quotas in its own territorial waters. Somehow, one would think, a balance should be found with more goodwill. But Johnson has missed this goodwill on the part of the EU so far, and that in turn from him. It is now up to the story to clarify the question of guilt from January 1, 2021, if nothing happens. It is to be feared: Boris Johnson’s theatrical thunder accompanies a rogue play.