Brexit Meeting in Brussels Ends With a New Deadline

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Brussels on Dec 9, 2020. (AFP)

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen speaks of a lively discussion after the meeting with Boris Johnson. A trade agreement is being discussed further.

During the negotiations of a trade agreement, the European Union and Great Britain granted each other a final deadline of Sunday evening. A three-hour conversation between Prime Minister Boris Johnson and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Brussels did not bring about a breakthrough. Rather, the two sides continued to notice major differences. Nevertheless, the negotiating teams should get back together immediately and try to resolve the sticking points within four days.

British government officials said it was still unclear whether an agreement would be reached. Prime Minister Johnson does not want to leave no stone unturned to test ways to a possible deal. "We had a lively and interesting discussion about the state of affairs on the open questions," stated Ms. von der Leyen. "We understand each other's positions. They are still far apart."

"We understood each other positions.
They are still far apart."


Mr. Johnson and Ms. von der Leyen had agreed to have a dinner in Brussels to discuss and, if possible, resolve the remaining points of contention in the negotiations on a trade agreement for the time after the end of the Brexit transition phase. These are fishing, fair competition and the question of the enforceability of the agreements.

Mr. Johnson said before meeting with Ms. von der Leyen in the UK House of Commons that a good deal was still possible. But the EU's demand that the UK continue to adhere to its standards or expect countermeasures are "conditions that no prime minister of this country should accept". Chancellor Angela Merkel, on the other hand, stressed that the EU would not compromise on its core principles. If the British side made conditions that the EU could not accept, a path without an agreement would be taken.




Time is running out

Time is running out. This Thursday and Friday, the EU heads of state and government will meet for their last summit of the year. A contract should be in place by December 31, because then the Brexit transition phase will expire. Should an agreement be reached, it would have to be ratified in the European Parliament and the EU Council of Ministers. As things stand, at least one vote on the trade pact is also expected in the British Parliament.

Great Britain left the EU at the end of January, but everything will remain the same until the turn of the year. Negotiations will take place afterwards. Without a contract, tariffs and other trade hurdles threaten from January 1st That could lead to long traffic jams on the English side of the English Channel and empty shelves in supermarkets. The economy expects severe upheaval.

EU Commission agreed on the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol from the Brexit Agreement
This largely removes the danger of hard border between British Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland.

At least there was progress on Tuesday: The British government and the EU Commission agreed on the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol from the Brexit Agreement. This largely removes the greatest concern in the event of a no deal. The protocol aims to ensure that there is no hard border between the British Northern Ireland and the EU member Republic of Ireland. In this case, a flare-up of the conflict in the former civil war region was expected.

The government in London had agreed to delete or change controversial passages in a draft law that had caused much displeasure in the EU. The British Government wanted the Single Market Act to overturn the provisions of the Northern Ireland Protocol and thereby break international law.

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