Brexit may not be trusted at the moment, but the watch shows the UK’s current transition with the European Union (EU), which allows the UK to act as if it were more or less still a Member State and both sides are negotiating their future relationship. . It ends on 31 December.
It is well recorded that the pandemic hampered these negotiations as representatives were unable to meet in person. The negotiations, which are still at a standstill, mean that the unfair Brexit agreement remains the logical conclusion of this saga, which has been going on for five years.
Both sides remain committed to agreement, but both sides have red lines that are incompatible with each other. The EU demands that if the UK wants free tariff access to the vast EU internal market, it must commit itself to complying with certain EU laws. The UK says the EU is making unreasonable demands and not respecting its sovereignty.
Earlier, some Brexit employment experts suggested that the only way to attract a budget to Brussels was to show that Britain not only wanted to leave, but would prosper if it did. Of course, the version of this strategy had some effect in the past when negotiations were closed in previous negotiations ̵1; especially when Johnson was able to renegotiate the original Brexit agreement, which he inherited from his predecessor Theresa May.
“If Brexit is second on our list of priorities, imagine how much it is on the list of EU member states,” said Anand Menon, a professor of European policy at King’s College London. “All these things about Brussels are better than themselves, compared to 1.8 trillion euros [$2.1 trillion] they just signed, it’s a small beer. ”
The pandemic remains a much more urgent emergency in the 27-nation bloc. “We are focusing on rebuilding the European Union – that is a priority,” said one EU diplomat who was not allowed to talk about the record. “After spending four days arguing with the head of each EU government over a trillion euros, you start to understand why Brexit just isn’t on our radar. Unfortunately, the British are a little too independent to see that.”
Others in Brussels believe last week’s budget agreement was a major step forward in building confidence in the EU, showing that if the bloc can agree on something as controversial as money, it can do so for external threats such as Russia, China’s rise, political instability. In America and, of course, Brexit.
“I think it has been proven that integration is alive and well, and that things can really be easier if the British are not sitting at the table and trying to stop everything,” said the EU’s Brexit policy official, who is not allowed to speak on the record. “I think it has also shown that the German-French partnership is really starting to work. to the new Cold War, uncertainty from America, it is safer for Europeans to work together. ”
The UK has said in the past that it would like the Brexit talks to be concluded by the autumn. It does not take long to reach an agreement, and I do not know how much the political capital Brussels will be prepared to spend on an agreement.
“It is true that the agreement on the MFF and the recovery fund provides the EU-27 [member states] More free space for Brexit, but they won’t let it dominate its time or its thinking, “said Georgina Wright, a senior researcher at the government’s Brexit team.” The EU is focusing on economic recovery, the role of member states. EU decision-making, climate and the rule of law. Not in the UK. ”
This could annoy Brexiteers London, who continue to be angry at the EU’s demand for a trade agreement and believe Johnson needs to play a tough ball with Brussels. But over time, by December, it could be riskier than they realize.
“Some prominent Brexiteers may want to shout that Brussels has done better in the UK to leave, but in reality the UK will do so much harder than the EU will hit,” Menon says. “The EU can better swallow the financial costs of disagreement, which means it can afford to choose a union over Britain if asked to do so.”
When asked about Brexit after last week’s summit, several EU diplomats and officials at CNN drew attention to a less marked agreement on € 5 billion in contingency funds if no agreement is reached. They very much thought that this amount was high enough to show that the EU was serious about not doing any deals, but small enough compared to the EU budget as a whole to indicate where Brexit is on the bloc’s priorities.
With just over five months left until the end of the transition, and even less time to negotiate whether or not Johnson decides to play hard football, it may not matter. “While the EU is keen on an agreement, it cannot be at any cost,” Wright said. “They want a fair and balanced agreement, but in principle their market integrity is protected. A conflicting agreement in the EU can be more costly than a political agreement.
Those harsh Brexiteers who advised Johnson to threaten to leave may find that it is Brussels that is quietly ready to sleep soundly.