The negotiators from London and Brussels have already looked eight times over an agreement for the post-Brexit transition period. Will the breakthrough come in round nine? The hurdles are high.
Under great time pressure, the European Union and Great Britain have been trying to establish a trade pact since Tuesday after Brexit. At the start of the last round of negotiations, the German Minister of Europe for Europe Michael Roth raised the chances of an agreement. But the SPD politician once again criticized Britain’s plans to partially nullify the already valid Brexit treaty by law. That was a “dark shadow” on the negotiations. In the evening, the British House of Commons voted in favor of the controversial law, which must now pass through the House of Lords.
Britain has already left the EU in January and, after a transition period, will leave the EU internal market and customs union at the end of the year. The intended agreement is intended to prevent a hard breakthrough with tariffs and trade barriers. Also in the ninth round of negotiations, led by British chief negotiator David Frost and his EU colleague Michel Barnier, fisheries and the EU’s demand for a level playing field are also central.
What consequences is the EU considering?
Barnier’s spokesman Dan Ferrie said nothing about the state of the talks on Tuesday. Don’t take stock until Friday, he said. Time is of the essence: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson set a deadline of 15 October and the EU until the end of October to have time for ratification.
At the start of the round, Secretary of State Roth spoke with an unusual open letter addressed to “Dear British Government, Dear British Friends”. “We are determined to lead the negotiations to a successful outcome,” said Spiegel’s letter.
However, the SPD politician reiterated criticism of the UK Internal Market Act, which is intended to undermine parts of the exit deal struck before Brexit. This raises questions about an international treaty. “The EU cannot and will not accept that,” Roth wrote. “And it casts a dark shadow over the ongoing negotiations.” However, he left open what consequences the EU is considering.
Johnson aligns critics
The European Commission had given the British government a deadline at the end of September (Wednesday) to abandon the plans. London, however, sticks to this. Prime Minister Boris Johnson passed the law on Tuesday evening through the House of Commons in London by a clear majority with 340 votes to 256. However, the British government insists the law is necessary as a “safety net” in the event of a hard Brexit.
Johnson had previously aligned some deviants in his own ranks by ensuring them further parliamentary scrutiny. However, individual Tories, including ex-Prime Minister Theresa May, had been criticized to the end. A Labor Party amendment to change the law’s controversial passages was rejected earlier on Tuesday.
The bill contradicts the special rules for Northern Ireland agreed in the treaty. Closer links between the British province and the EU internal market and the customs union are designed to prevent a permanent border on the Irish island and prevent previous political unrest from flaring up again.