Between rat race (diplomatic version) and dialogue of the deaf. The first day of the European Brexit summit came to naught and the prospect of a deal within a month may not be as obvious although in trade and finance European capitalists have always managed to overcome their differences.
To occupy people’s minds a little, it was the fisheries file that was at the center of the discussions, presented as one of the main sticking points in the negotiations on the post-Brexit relationship of the European Union (EU) with the United Kingdom. The European negotiator, Michel Barnier, went so far as to say: “We know very well that we are going to have to make an effort”. Same tone against from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency: “We have asked the UK to remain open to compromises (…). Of course, this also means that we have to accept compromises ”, even though“ each side has its red lines ”.
But, in conclusions adopted on Thursday evening, EU heads of state and government noted “with concern that progress on key issues of interest to the Union is still not sufficient for an agreement to be reached. concluded ”. And they demand that London do “whatever is necessary to make an agreement possible”. The old shot of the carrot and the stick, in a way.
Until this Friday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson whistles the end of recess. “They have abandoned the idea of a free trade agreement, there does not seem to be any progress on the part of Brussels so what we say to them is: come and see us if there is a fundamental change in approach. , otherwise it would be fine for us to talk about the practical details “of an exit without a trade deal,” he said. Adding, most certainly with an inner smile: “We must prepare for an arrangement which resembles what has been concluded with Australia”, which amounts to a “no deal” where exchanges are governed by the rules of the ‘World Trade Organization, he added, noting that there are “only ten weeks left before the end of the transition period” following the exit from the EU, effective on January 31. Johnson’s warning to the Europeans is clear, the ball is in their court and time is on their side. Enough to make lie the forecasts of the President of the European Central Bank (ECB), Christine Lagarde. When we take into account to what extent the United Kingdom on the one hand and the European Union on the other would be affected by a situation of no-deal, it could not be clearer that there has to be an agreement, ”she stressed. Even! But this no doubt prompted the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, to ensure that European negotiators would go to London next week “to intensify” the discussions.
Stung after the statements of Boris Johnson, the French President, Emmanuel Macron, has sold the wick. “The problem is far from being just fishing, it is much more fundamental,” he replied to a journalist who asked him if he was ready for a failure of the EU-London negotiations because of the blockage on the peach. Discussions between London and the 27 on Brexit “stumble on everything, everything!” », He launched. “You are the victim of information poisoning (sic), the state of our discussions is not that we are stumbling on fishing,” he continued, “it is a tactical subject used by the British, because in the event of a “no deal” it would be the only subject where Boris Johnson could say: “I won” “, he accused. But a tactic that the Europeans bit down, thinking of making London the sprinkler watered. For the European Union, which thought that the practice of the Scottish shower would calm the British enthusiasm, it is in any case a real cold shower.