Eccentric without a line: Merkel is particularly challenged when taming the stubborn Brexit Boris
Norway has now managed to reach an agreement with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on a fisheries agreement. An agreement would also be desirable for the final Brexit negotiations. Johnson no longer even wants to recognize the European Court of Justice.
In the mid-10s of this century, the Norwegian capital Oslo and the British capital London competed for the dubious honor of being the most expensive city in the world. London eventually pulled away, despite the fact that food prices on the Oslo Fjord are almost twice as high as on the Thames.
Ultimately, however, it was the astronomical rental prices in London that made the difference. Both cities have a lot in common, including the uncomfortable weather. Perhaps that is why it is easier for the Norwegians than the EU to deal with the British after Brexit.
Also read: “Drama and threatening gestures”: The moment of truth strikes for Brexit-Boris
Merkel challenged in taming the stubborn Boris
“Not bad news for us” is that Norway and the United Kingdom were able to agree on a fisheries agreement this week, said Chancellor Angela Merkel at the end of the latest EU summit in Brussels.
For months, London and Brussels have been giving each other bitter blows and stings about fishing rights, in which nothing has progressed. As in the rest of the final Brexit negotiations, hardly any, so that now, after the end of the supposedly final ninth round of talks, the big heads of the EU have to go again to press for a result in London.
Not only EU negotiator Michel Barnier, but also EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country currently holds the EU Council Presidency, are therefore once again fully challenged in the next few days in taming the stubborn Boris. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has so far shown no inclination to approach the EU.
On the contrary: he poisoned the negotiating climate with a draft law that partially canceled earlier negotiation successes with Brussels. Even Merkel, who was generally cautious, called the process “bitter”.
Continuous fire by the British press against the EU – Johnson was on the trigger
Advice from Oslo might be helpful for further action. Because the Norwegians, who are not an EU member but have access to their internal market, could not only agree with the British on fishing rights. But by the end of the year they are also heading for a free trade agreement with the United Kingdom.
Of course, they benefit from the fact that Oslo, unlike Brussels, is not viewed as an enemy in Great Britain. In a new study (“How Press Propaganda Paved the Way to Brexit”), long-time EU employee Francis Rawlinson follows how continuous fire from the British press against the EU led to Brexit.
For the years and decades before the fateful exit referendum in 2016, he noted a “persistent flow of disinformation” about the EU in the British press. One of the protagonists at the time: Boris Johnson, Brussels correspondent for the Daily Telegraph from 1989 to 1994 and notorious for his libertarian relationship to the truth.
Conversations with breaches of contract
It is the same Boris Johnson who seems to care about paragraphs as much as facts. For Brussels, his new Internal Market Act represents a blatant breach of the agreements on the transitional regulations for Brexit, which will only take full effect at the beginning of next year. That is why the EU Commission initiated what is known as infringement proceedings against Great Britain, which could ultimately lead to a decision by the European Court of Justice with a fine.
But it is precisely this court that London no longer wants to recognize as an instance, one of the sticking points of the negotiations so far. The EU is now continuing talks with a partner who unilaterally collects previous agreements and does not recognize the highest EU legal authority as an arbitrator. One can then ask: What is that supposed to mean?
Eccentric without a line
Boris Johnson appears as a nationwide edition of the “local eccentric”, the lovable eccentric, who is valued by the British and who likes to align seashells in straight lines on the beach for no purpose. Only Brexit Boris is lacking amiability. The line too. Sometimes he agrees to special agreements for the future status of Northern Ireland, then he withdraws them. His credibility is now far below that of a former shell player who now runs a mailbox company for used car sales.