Did Brexit break British politics?
And again a deadline is broken: EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson agreed on a phone call on Sunday to continue the tough negotiations on the UK's future relations with the EU. It had previously been said that the decision should be made on Sunday whether a degree is still possible.
The top politicians spread a joint message: "Despite the exhaustion after almost a year of negotiations, despite the fact that deadlines have been missed again and again, we believe that at this moment it is the responsibility to make one last effort." That is why the two chief negotiators Michel Barnier and Lord David Frost were commissioned to continue the talks in Brussels. Von der Leyen and Johnson did not name a new deadline.
The prime minister said in London that the two sides were still "very far apart". You have to be prepared for failure, said Johnson. He was confident, however, that Great Britain would do "very, very well" even in the event of a no-deal scenario. As a sign that he is willing to fight for a trade agreement to the end, he renewed his offer to enter into direct negotiations with Paris, Berlin and other capitals. But France and Germany have so far refused.
Time is of the essence, because a hard break threatens in two and a half weeks: Although the United Kingdom left the EU at the end of January, citizens and companies will not really feel it until the beginning of January 2021. The Brexit transition phase ends at the turn of the year, during which Great Britain is still part of the EU internal market and the customs union. If it is not possible to conclude a trade agreement in December, customs duties and controls would therefore be introduced from January onwards, to the detriment of companies and consumers. There is also no longer any basis for EU fishermen to catch in British waters and vice versa.
London claims the EU claims the right to automatically impose tariffs
The Commission has therefore already published emergency measures which, in the event of the failure of the negotiations, are intended to ensure that planes, buses and trucks can continue to operate between the UK and the EU from January - for a transitional period of up to six months and only if London providers run out grants the EU equal rights. Brussels is also demanding that EU fishing fleets continue to fish in British waters, even until the end of 2021.
London does not believe in that, however: the British government announced on Friday that it would use four Royal Navy patrol boats in the English Channel from January to protect the coastal waters from EU fishing tractors in the event that talks are broken off. The warning came from Paris that the French could also use the navy for their part. The fishing quotas for EU fleets in the fish-rich British waters are one of the main points of contention in the Barnier and Frost negotiations.
Obviously, understanding the so-called is even more difficult Level playing field. So the question of how it can be ensured that there will continue to be fair competitive conditions between companies in the UK and those in the EU in the future. London has already promised not to lower environmental and social standards. The debate now revolves around what happens if the UK or the EU adopts more ambitious rules in the coming years and decades.
It is first of all the other partner's right not to go along with them and to leave their laws as they are. But over time, such discrepancies could result in companies in the EU - or the UK - enjoying benefits that the other side sees as unfair. The EU negotiators have therefore proposed a so-called development or equivalence mechanism. Accordingly, there could be mandatory consultations to settle such disputes.
However, London claims that the EU is de facto claiming the right to automatically impose tariffs on British goods if the UK does not follow suit with new, costly EU laws and regulations. This representation of the negotiating position is rejected in the Commission. Brussels does not require an automatic right to impose tariffs, and such a mechanism should not only apply to one side, it is said.
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