Although both London and Brussels continued to adopt harsh tones in the run-up to the final political negotiations on Brexit terms, the British government took a step back yesterday, raising hopes for a last-minute deal.
According to Secretary of State Michael Gove, his government has decided to withdraw from the Internal Market bill the controversial articles, which had provoked strong reactions from Brussels, as they violated the current treaty of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU. Earlier, an agreement had been reached between the two sides on the protocol of the politically sensitive, Northern Ireland withdrawal agreement.
Although the dispute that arose was not directly related to the ongoing negotiations on a future trade agreement between the UK and the EU, overcoming it creates a better atmosphere for the crucial meeting between British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Prime Minister Boris Johnson. von der Layen. The date of the meeting was not finalized until last night, but the time limits are now pressing for both sides, as the transitional period ends on December 31st.
In view of the forthcoming meeting, both sides kept their papers closed, with messages of determination, on the verge of intransigence, for internal consumption. “We always have hopes, but there may come a time when we will have to acknowledge that the match is over,” Johnson told reporters, adding: an Australian-type solution, we will be fine again. ” Australia has not concluded a trade agreement with the EU, which means that the bulk of the exchanges between the two sides are governed by World Trade Organization rules.
In a similar vein, the head of the European negotiators, Michel Barnier, stressed that the “27” are united in their stance against Britain and that a trade agreement is desirable, but not unconditional. “We will never sacrifice the future for the sake of the present. “(British) access to our common market comes with conditions,” said the European official.
For his part, French Commissioner Clement Bonn reiterated that his country intends to veto any “bad” agreement reached between Brussels and London, insisting in particular on the fishing rights of French fishermen in British waters. “There is no reason for us to succumb to British pressure on fisheries. “We can make efforts (for an agreement), but not sacrifice the fishermen and our fishing industry,” he said.
Diplomatic sources in Brussels, however, estimated that differences over fisheries (which account for 0.1% of the GDP of Britain and France) could be bridged, albeit with difficulty. Disagreements over the terms that will guarantee a level playing field are much more serious, as they are directly related to social policy, environmental rules and government subsidies.