London (AP) – EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson failed to make a breakthrough in a conversation about the Brexit trade pact.
There has been progress recently, but there are still significant differences, they said after a phone call. This applies especially to the fields of competitive conditions and fisheries. Brussels and London want to negotiate on Monday. Parts of the opposition called on Johnson to finally change his Brexit policy after the US presidential election, calling him “Britain’s Trump.”
The transition phase of Brexit will end in less than two months. Then Britain leaves the EU single market and the customs union. Without a contract there is the risk of tariffs and other trade barriers.
Two developments could increase pressure on Britain to reach a trade pact with the EU: On the one hand, the country is particularly affected by the corona pandemic and is already putting heavy pressure on the economy. On the other hand, according to commentators, the change of president in the United States could increase the chances of an agreement between London and Brussels.
Election winner Joe Biden of the Democrats loves the EU, in contrast to Brexit supporter Donald Trump, who primarily had a lucrative trade deal with Britain in mind. The leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) in the British Parliament, Ian Blackford, asked Johnson that he should now think about his reputation as “the Trump of Great Britain.” Johnson’s “extreme Brexit policy” and his proximity to Trump have “increasingly isolated him from the world stage,” he tweeted. Labor leader Keir Starmer praised Biden’s “decency, integrity, compassion and strength.”
The time remaining for negotiations is extremely short, as an agreement has not yet been ratified. Both sides wanted to redouble their efforts, a British government spokesman said. We will continue to work intensively together in the coming days, von der Leyen tweeted on Saturday after the balance sheet conversation. Johnson had told Sky News on Friday that he was still waiting for a deal. He indicated that a decision would be possible next weekend.
Talks between the EU and Britain were very slow for many months. Meanwhile, London even left the negotiating table. Brussels had originally stated that an agreement had to be reached before the end of October so that a treaty could still be ratified. The deadline passed, but the talks continued.
In the event of a no-deal Brexit, the consequences would be enormous: Thousands of trucks are forecast to get stuck due to border controls in the Dover area and many supermarket and pharmacy shelves will be empty. EU states would also be affected. Tens of thousands of jobs are at risk, the Federation of German Industry (BDI) recently warned. Internal political upheavals threaten Britain. Scotland’s desire for independence could only grow.