Negotiations between the European Union and the United Kingdom – led by British negotiator David Frost and Michel Barnier from the European Union – began in Brussels on Monday. The goal is, among other things, a trade agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom before the end of this year.
The negotiations, involving ten different sub-regions, will take place in the spring – alternating in Brussels, alternately in London.
The fact that the United Kingdom left the European Union on February 1 has yet to emerge in practice other than that the country is not part of the decision-making bodies within the Union.
During the transition period, which runs until the beginning of the year 2020-2021, the European Union and the United Kingdom will agree on common rules for the game, especially with regard to trade.
The negotiations were preceded by a lack of confidence. The two sides accused each other of imposing excessive demands on future agreements. Experts have warned that the two sides are on a collision course, and that an agreement is unlikely without the parties surrendering.
Last week, the British government threatened to withdraw from negotiations on a trade pact if it did not reach a large enough deal with the European Union before June. The two sides are calling for a summit in June, when the future of the negotiations will be decided.
Britain strives for “political and economic independence”
The European Union offers the UK a tariff-free and quota-free agreement, provided the UK follows the rules of the Union. The United Kingdom, for its part, wants a free trade agreement, without obligations to enact laws that bind the country to the laws and institutions of the European Union.
The European Union is pursuing an agreement with the United Kingdom that includes free trade, hunting rights, security and defense cooperation, energy, transportation, freedom of movement and digital trade. The UK, on the other hand, is not interested in such a strict agreement, and says it wants a more flexible trade agreement – as the European Union did with Canada.
If the two sides fail to agree on a trade agreement before the end of this year, the trade will be based on the rules of the World Trade Organization.
The economy is expected to be severely affected if no deal is reached, both for the United Kingdom and the European Union. According to Agence France-Presse, the UK could lose € 29 billion in export earnings. As much as half of British exports go to the European Union.
An EU official, who asked not to be named, told Agence France-Presse that Brussels had no alternative plan unless the two sides reached an agreement.
A) There is only one plan (A), there is no plan (B), and it is plan (B) to extend the negotiations, and we already know that the UK does not want it.
Sources: AFP, STT