The dialogue between the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, to unblock the negotiation of a Treaty that regulates their future relationship, concluded with a new postponement on Wednesday night. They agreed that the dialogue continue until Sunday after stating that the differences that have blocked the outcome of this saga since March persist and their doubt that they can be resolved.
At the meeting, which had the format of a dinner, the two leaderss analyzed the scheme of obstacles drawn up by the negotiating teams with the expectation of proposing intermediate ways that must be developed later as legal legal texts. In the European Council that meets Thursday and Friday, the Heads of State and Government of the 27 will analyze the persistent blockade.
In a short statement, Von der Leyen described the dialogue as “lively and interesting.” «We achieved a clearer understanding of the positions of each. They remain very distant, “he added. A Johnson spokesperson described the dialogue as “frank” and the differences as “very great”, adding that “it is not clear that they can be overcome.” Both describe Sunday as the date for a firm decision.
The Secretary of State of the European Union in the Spanish Government, Juan González-Barba, had expressed, after participating in the General Affairs Council, “the hope that it can be achieved an agreement that is balanced and in accordance with the principles and values of the EU ”. Ambition of agreement and firmness in maintaining their positions was common in the statements of all those involved.
The dinner, which was served with mashed pumpkin and scallops, turbot and pavlova, was also attended by the two chief negotiators, Michael Barnier and David Frost, plus attendees. The dinner venue, Berlaymont, shouldn’t exist, according to one of the diners. As a correspondent for ‘The Daily Telegraph’ in Brussels, Boris Johnson offered a dramatic version of the works at the headquarters of the European Commission, in 1990, to eliminate asbestos with carcinogenic potential.
«Sappers will place explosive charges at key points, so that the structure gradually collapses. British sources ironically suggested that the day of the detonation should be declared a European holiday, “he wrote, following his habit of inventing news that ridiculed the then European Economic Community.
Thirty years later, the now British Prime Minister left for the EU capital, where he grew up – his father worked in the Commission – after proclaiming in the House of Commons that ‘no prime minister of this country could accept the terms»That the community negotiators demand of him on the mechanisms of fair competition and fishing in British waters.
His interlocutors, according to Johnson, “are saying that the United Kingdom should be the only country in the world that does not have sovereign control over its fishing waters». In recent weeks it has been claimed that there were already agreements on transition times for European fleets or that the parties had tabled proposals that did not seem viable. The British leader emphasized the recognition that it is a resource that belongs to his country.
The sphere of fair competition was also mentioned by Angela Merkel, in the Berlin Bundestag. Although she stated, like Johnson, that her government is willing to opt for a no-deal separation, the German Chancellor noted that the divergence of regulations is “The big question”. “We have to imagine how each party responds when the legal situation in the European Union or the UK changes,” he said. Because “we need fair competition today, tomorrow and the day after.”
While the distribution of fishing has a precise materialization and figures, in addition to the political consequences that the decline of their communities and coastal economies in the countries affected, the divergence on fair competition is based on the inability to date to find a procedure that allows the dynamic resolution of changes in regulations.
State subsidies to companies are not already mentioned and the British complaints and Merkel’s arguments focus on the mechanism for monitoring changes in environmental or labor laws that would give competitive advantages. The starting point is identical, because the UK will remain under the disciplines of the common market until December 31. Johnson also agrees not to lower standards in those areas.
What is inadmissible to London is for EU negotiators to propose ‘an automatic right to punish us or retaliate if we do not comply or we immediately copy a new law that they pass in the future. The conservative politician reiterates that his wish is to emulate the EU trade agreement with Canada, but Brussels does not believe it is feasible to apply the same criterion to the sixth world economy, physically neighboring, when in the Treaty it would gain, in principle, free access to their goods to the common market.