The thing is this: The UK officially left the EU on January 31. Since then, it has been in a transition period, during which it still complies with EU regulations in exchange for business as usual in key areas, especially in trade.
The entire purpose of the transition period is to create a space where both parties can safely negotiate their future relationship without causing interference from businesses and citizens. However, the transition period ended on December 31, and both parties said that these negotiations were not going well.
The pandemic did not contribute to the political impasse. The negotiating team cannot meet in person but rely on video conferencing tools. The next round of virtual conversations will begin on Tuesday, but sources on both sides have stated that this compromises the quality of the negotiations because individuals cannot split up for private chats to resolve difficult issues. The scale of the coronavirus crisis has masked the urgency of Brexit negotiations.
Johnson must now spend the month of June, having complex and intense negotiations with the world’s largest trading group, while also monitoring the response to the country’s worst public health crisis in decades.
Both parties agreed to consider whether to reach an agreement during June, or whether they should respectfully make bullets during the talks and prepare for no-deal scenarios.
Hardly any agreement is recognized as the worst result. The British economy is heavily dependent on imports from Europe. The biggest disruption to this trade will affect the supply chain-killing companies that depend on them (such as car manufacturers) and causing potential household necessities (such as food) to be scarce for consumers. A large number of studies predict that this will cause a huge economic blow to families and the entire country.
Although neither the United Kingdom nor the European Union claimed to hope for this result, the negotiators worried that political impasse means that this possibility is increasing. A British government official said: “The EU is unreasonable, and if we want a free trade agreement, then it must be at the expense of our continued compliance with EU rules.” Negotiations. “Obviously, they know that we cannot accept this. If we accept, what is the purpose of Brexit?” said the same source.
The rules they refer to are a particularly tricky part of the negotiations called the “fair playing field”. This is essentially an agreement on certain rules and standards designed to prevent one party’s business from weakening the other’s business. The EU’s single market is the largest economic group on the planet. Its fair competition environment is supervised by EU courts and institutions. If the UK wishes to receive tax exemption after the transition period-just like Johnson’s position when he reached a preliminary Brexit agreement with the EU last fall-then the EU will need the EU to sign these rules.
A level playing field is not the only place where Brussels and London can appreciate each other. Disagreements over fishing rights, security and governance, and what happened on the Irish island. However, negotiators in London and Brussels believe that the long-term overdue crisis caused by the imminent cliff edge will drag the two sides together. The differences in a level playing field cannot be said to be the same.
The UK stated that if the European Union lowers its requirements for a level playing field, it will abandon its ambitions for tariff-free trade with the EU. The EU is not interested in this concept because it believes that there is not enough time to negotiate tariffs during the transition period.
In theory, if Johnson wants to go this way, he can spend more time. He must request an extension of the transition period before June 30. However, this is politically harmful, so much so that Johnson’s advisers currently think that it is unimaginable to do so. It is this toxicity of the Brexit debate that makes trading impossible, because any surrender that is thought to cause Johnson to be in trouble with supporters.
In addition, the pandemic weirdly created an opportunity to mask the huge negative impact that a no-deal Brexit could have on the British economy. “While changing Europe, the head of the British think tank,” Anand Menon said, “There is a logic that allows us to respond immediately to these two economic turmoil.
“From the supply chain to the way the entire economy operates, everything will change due to this virus. So even though these two things are not really related and may make the other thing worse, I can see in Some logic to do all this at the same time politically.”
Even better, this epidemic has created space for the government to invest money in any major obstacles even in the worst case.
Raoul Ruparel, a former Brexit adviser to Johnson’s Theresa May, said: “Some British economies will be hit by both Brexit and coronavirus.” “ If Johnson spends the government’s money to mitigate the impact in these areas, he may find that the level of opposition is less than he just spent the money to offset the impact of Brexit, because the entire political field has greater demand Unite such spending to help Covid-19 recover.”
In Brussels, member states reached an agreement, and no agreement was reached at the end of the year. The European diplomat in Brussels said: “We are no longer interested in the British decision.” The source said: “This is a country outside the European Union and we are working to restore the coronavirus.”
This impatient phenomenon is not uncommon among EU institutions. An official in charge of negotiations shrugged and said, “Britain is free to do whatever it wants” and Brussels is ready to “get into a deadlock” by the end of June. .
For some time now, the European Union has believed that it will respond better to the no-deal shock than the United Kingdom. Former EU negotiator Thomas Cole said: “The EU knows it is in a better position. Yes, there is nothing bad for them, but for the UK, the situation is much worse.” “Indeed, both sides It’s sovereign equality, but they are very aware that they don’t need to make the concessions that Britain needs to make.”
Just like in the UK, in the long run, coronaviruses may make it easier for the EU to perform certain non-transactional calculations. Fabian Zuleeg, CEO of the European Policy Center, said: “The paradox is that this may make any aspect of the EU more manageable.” “After Covid, those who are considering being in Europe Companies that have scaled down their business scope may decide that it will be easier to close British offices and factories completely. This actually solves some problems in some ways.”
Of course, neither side wants to reach any agreement, and both sides still told reporters that they are committed to breaking the deadlock and reaching mutually beneficial solutions. However, if the history of Brexit is not optimistic, then with the rumble in June, the current political blame may intensify.
If the negotiations do break down, both parties will expect the other to seek blame and play the role of victim. In the short term, this may be politically suitable for Johnson, because he plays a brave leader and resolutely resists bullying in Europe. But, as Menon pointed out, the post-Covid world is already looking for a chaotic, unpredictable place.
He said: “Everyone is angry with China, and God knows what will happen in the US elections.” “When Britain rises from the pandemic and enters a new and beautiful future, does it really want to dispute with Europe?”
Therefore, if Boris Johnson seriously considers not to reach any agreement, then the negotiated alliance will be frozen, and both sides will be distracted by the pandemic, and this urgent June deadline will put summer into a nightmare .
This story has been updated to correct the June deadline for the UK to request an extension of the transition period.