The European Union and the United Kingdom faced a key and decisive day earlier on Sunday to reach an agreement for Brexit. However, the world will just have to wait a little longer to see if the UK will walk away with an applauding trade deal with unfettered access to a market of 450 million consumers on the continent, while freeing themselves from the EU’s rules and regulations or whether the EU will stand their grounds.
After a phone call between UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Sunday, a joint statement said “despite the exhaustion after almost a year of negotiations, despite the fact that deadlines have been missed over and over, we think it is responsible at this point to go the extra mile”. The EU/UK transition period will end on December 31.
Sunday’s deadline to reach an agreement was set at the face-to-face meeting that President von der Leyen, and British Prime Johnson, held on Wednesday in Brussels.
The President of the Commission affirmed in a press conference on Friday that the positions between London and Brussels remain distant on “fundamental” issues, such as fisheries and fair competition between European and British companies and the mechanism to resolve disputes over the hypothetical covenant.
The EU is making argument for maximum access for its boats to continue operating in UK waters, where they currently catch approximately £600m worth of fish annually. Fishing was central to the leave campaign that won the Brexit referendum in the UK in 2016. However, it makes up a makes up a small part of both economies and is a significant issue for several European countries.
Both the EU and the UK are looking for a level playing field in a Brexit agreement. This is to ensure that businesses are not one sided or have an unfair advantage over their competitors. A level playing field is often seen in free trade agreements.
Both sides differ on regulations and standards. For instance, the EU wishes for the UK to stay closely to EU rules but the UK feels the whole point of Brexit was to break from EU rules.
Both sides also differ on how disputes are solved. What will happen if one side breaks the rules? The EU wants more power to retaliate if the UK breaks the rules in a particular area. The retaliation could be in the form of imposing tariffs or taxes where it might hurt the most, vice versa. Another issue is who will adjudicate disputes, and how the European Court of Justice will be incorporated.
These are heavy issues that will no doubt be critical for the future EU/UK relationship.
British Prime Minister Johnson said previously that it is “very, very likely” that London will not be able to reach a post-Brexit pact with the European Union and should opt for the “wonderful” solution of trading according to the general rules. of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The agreement on the future relationship between London and Brussels must be reached and ratified in the community club and the Parliament of Westminster before the end of the year, as on January 1 the community legislation will have ceased to apply in British territory and the United Kingdom will have been become a third country permanently.
This Thursday, the European Commission published contingency measures so that the community club is prepared for the possibility that an agreement will not come into force on January 1.
As talks remain deadlocked with a hard and now very short deadline of January 1, 2021, the Brexit matter has been more than just an internal European affair. It is of deep interest to British Territories and companies doing business there. The outcome of the Brexit affair can send shock waves around the world.