UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has dispatched Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove to Brussels at the start of a week of talks about the UK’s future relationship with the EU.
The deadline for a deal is two and a half weeks away – Sources have told me that PM Johnson has told Gove to “get a deal!”
Mr Gove will meet European Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič to discuss implementation of the Brexit divorce deal ahead of formal negotiations which will resume tomorrow [29th September 2020] as the two sides attempt to agree a post-Brexit trade deal.
However, before the bunting comes out, lets not forget that the last set of talks ended acrimoniously when the UK government introduced the Internal Market Bill which would allow the UK to override parts of the original Brexit divorce deal – known as the withdrawal agreement with the very same Mr Šefčovič saying clearly that if the bill were to be adopted, it would constitute an “extremely serious violation” of the withdrawal agreement and of international law.
He has already urged the government to withdraw the bill “by the end of the month” adding that the withdrawal agreement “contains a number of mechanisms and legal remedies to address violations of the legal obligations contained in the text – which the European Union will not be shy in using”.
The UK government said it would “discharge its treaty obligations in good faith”, but added that “it is important to remember the fundamental principle of parliamentary sovereignty.” The bill has not been withdrawn and is set to be debated by MPs on Tuesday.
Other long-running sticking points that could put the kaibosh on negotiations include state aid and fishing access.
The EU has let it be known that their chief negotiator Michel Barnier was neither “optimistic nor pessimistic” but determined to reach a deal while the UK has said a lot of work remains before a deal can be reached.
The Brexit transition period, in which the UK has kept to EU trading rules, ends on 31 December. The UK and EU are yet to agree a deal that will govern their future trade. If the sides fail to reach a deal by the end of the year, the UK would trade with the EU on World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.
This would mean tariffs would be applied to most goods which UK businesses send to the EU, making UK goods more expensive and harder to sell in Europe. It is hoped that Boris Johnson’s edict will change opinions on both sides. IF
About Iain Fraser
Geopolitical Journalist & Risk Analyst based in Málaga City, Spain. Currently interim CIO at Argus News Group and Consultant Editor at GEOPoliticalMatters.com as well as being an authority contributor to various websites and magazines across the Defence, Cybercrime & European Political sectors. More at https://iainfraserjournalist.blogspot.com or on LinkedIn