With less than three weeks of the final split between the UK and the EU, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson have set Sunday as the deadline for concluding a post trade deal. -Brexit. “This negotiation depends a lot on what Johnson wants“, said Elvire Fabry, senior researcher at the Jacques Delors European Institute, on franceinfo on Thursday 10 December.
franceinfo: What is still stuck?
Elvire Fabry: What blocks the most are the conditions of fair competition, because the Europeans do not want to expose the single market to the risk of trade distortions. The concern is that the British are lowering their standards in various areas, such as social standards, or even taxation. On this, what is under discussion is the fact of getting them to accept a principle of non-regression, that is to say that they do not lower their standards: He European Union calls for more precautions, not less. Then it’s the fishing issue that gets stuck, but that’s going to be saved for last. They are finding the right balance between the percentage of access to British waters that the Europeans would lose, and the transition period to get out of the current situation, that is to say that fishermen would be left with a certain number. years to prepare for a partial erosion of access to UK waters.
Why could something stuck yesterday unlock on Sunday?
Because these are not issues that are discussed between heads of state. Here we are on principles, on commitment, on goodwill. Ultimately, this negotiation depends a lot on what Boris Johnson wants and the signal he gives to his negotiators. There, it was a question of re-energizing this negotiation. It depends on the political risk situation Boris Johnson finds himself in, and how he assesses that political risk. If he feels weakened to the point of having to consolidate his conservative party, he knows that with a “no deal” he has the support of the toughest “brexiters”, while the courageous choice is that of a deal .
Who has the most to lose today?
It’s London. The UK is much more dependent on the European economy than the other way around. The Europeans have prepared a lot for a “no deal” situation [pas d’accord], and this was prepared by Brussels. We see that the Europeans remain firm. At the European Council today and tomorrow, Ursula von der Leyen has decided that we will not talk about Brexit since we have no decision. But it is also a signal given to negotiators and to London to say: “We have nothing to discuss between us on Brexit, the red lines are clear, we do not play the division between European capitals and our priorities are elsewhere, we have many other subjects on the European agenda to discuss . “