March 1, 2021

London and Brussels give themselves extra time for negotiations to save a dying Brexit in the final phase



Negotiations continue in an endless story that was born four and a half years ago with the Brexit referendum. This was decided by the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the British prime minister, Boris Johnson, after a telephone conversation this Sunday at noon.

“We had a helpful phone call this morning,” Von der Leyen said at a no-question appearance in Brussels where he read a joint statement agreed with London: “We have discussed the main outstanding issues [pesca, igualdad de condiciones y gobernanza del acuerdo]. Our negotiating teams have been working around the clock for the past few days and despite exhaustion after nearly a year of negotiations, despite deadlines being missed time and time again, we believe that at this time you are responsible for making extra effort. Consequently, we have instructed our negotiators to continue the talks and see if an agreement can be reached even at this last stage. ”

Four and a half years after the Brexit referendum. Three British ministers later. And an agreement to exit the European Union signed and executed on January 31, 2020, London and Brussels are on the edge of the precipice due to the lack of agreement on what relationship the European Union and the United Kingdom want to have as of January 1 2021. The 27 seek a close relationship, while the United Kingdom has been a member of the EU and deep commercial, social and cultural ties are maintained. But the British Prime Minister. Boris Johnson, keeps repeating that it would be no problem to maintain the same relationship with the EU that Australia has, which is in the antipodes.

And if on Thursday Johnson said that the possibility of non-agreement was powerful, this Friday community sources affirmed: “The probability of a non-agreement is greater than that of an agreement.”

Even so, they continue to seek to lift that agonizing agreement for the post-Brexit, which starts on January 1, 2021, after the United Kingdom left the EU on January 31, 2020, at which time the transition period began in Almost nothing has changed destined to negotiate a trade agreement that has been blocked from the beginning by fishing – the United Kingdom wants to have access to the European market but is reluctant to let Community fisheries enter its waters; equal conditions – what in Brussels they call level playing field and which has to do with the two partners having comparable regulations on labor, environmental, state aid, etc -; and governance –that is, how and who resolves conflicts between the parties–.

Brexit in its purity occurred on January 31. And a Withdrawal Agreement was signed with Theresa May which later had to be amended with Boris Johnson after he was overthrown by the Westminster Parliament. That Withdrawal Agreement, by which the United Kingdom left the EU last January, regulates key aspects, such as the border invisible between the two Irlandes as established two decades ago by the Good Friday Accords with which peace was sealed in Northern Ireland.

There is a joint United Kingdom-EU commission to monitor compliance with the agreement that this week managed to get the British Government to abandon its plans to rewrite the Brexit agreement in relation to the Ireland protocol through the new Internal Market law, which which was interpreted as a goodwill gesture from Boris Johnson.

Thus, what is pending to be negotiated is the commercial agreement to regulate post-Brexit relations, while the Brexit Agreement has already been signed and became operational on January 31, 2020.

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