The EU And The United Kingdom Seek To Boost Their Negotiations With a High-level Meeting

The European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom will try on Monday to boost the stalled negotiations over their future relationship with a high-level meeting between the President of the European Commission (EC), Ursula von der Leyen, and the Prime Minister. British Boris Johnson this Monday.

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The videoconference will be devoted to analyzing the state of the talks between London and Brussels, and the presidents of the European Council, Charles Michel, and of the European Chamber, David Sassoli will also participate.

The appointment takes place after London confirmed to Brussels on Friday its refusal to request the extension of the transition, which seeks to agree on the future relationship, and at a time when dialogue is stalled.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the last three negotiating rounds have been virtual rather than face-to-face, and progress has been conspicuous by their absence.

On June 5, when the last round of talks concluded, community negotiator Michel Barnier confirmed that “significant progress” had not been made and warned that it cannot “continue forever like this, especially when the British refuse to extend the transition period. “

In addition, he criticized London for “backtracking” on the commitments it had made in the political declaration on the future relationship, a document that accompanies the withdrawal agreement and sets the general lines on the new links between the EU and the United Kingdom. , which must be specified in the current negotiation.

Precisely, Monday’s meeting was foreseen in that political declaration as an opportunity to assess the progress made in the dialogue on the future relationship.

The positions of London and Brussels are still far apart on fundamental issues such as guarantees to maintain fair competition or fishing quotas, which the United Kingdom intends to negotiate with the EU every year, something that for the community club is not viable.

Despite the lack of progress, the United Kingdom confirmed on Friday its refusal to request an extension of the transition, a rejection that Brussels considers “definitive”, just over two weeks after midnight on June 30 to 1 July concludes the period in which London can request an extension of one or two years, until the end of 2021 or 2022.

“I have formally confirmed that the UK will not extend the transition period and that the time for extension has now passed. On January 1, 2021 we will regain control and regain our political and economic independence,” the British Minister for Cabinet, Michael Gove, following the second meeting of the joint community club and UK committee tasked with overseeing the implementation of the withdrawal agreement.

The vice president of the European Commission for Interinstitutional Relations, Maros Sefcovic, explained that the rejection is considered “final” because it occurred at the last committee meeting before the deadline for requesting the extension at the end of the month expires. The joint committee, the body in charge of approving this hypothetical extension, will meet again in early September.

Thus, the transition, in which, in addition to negotiating the new links, Community legislation continues to apply in British territory, it seems destined to conclude on December 31, 2020, eleven months after the United Kingdom’s departure from the EU.

“Therefore, we advocate speeding up work on all fronts,” said Sefcovic.

For Barnier, if the transition is not prolonged, the new pact must be concluded by October 31 at the latest, since it must be ratified afterwards.

Aiming to intensify talks on the future relationship, the European Commission released the meeting schedule for July and August on Friday.

After videoconferencing the last three rounds of negotiations for the coronavirus pandemic, the EU and the United Kingdom plan to hold face-to-face meetings in London and Brussels in different formats.

Some of the meetings will be more restricted than those held so far and will only include the participation of the chief negotiators and their closest teams. “Specialized sessions” on “particularly difficult” issues will also be organized.

The community club and the UK plan to hold meetings to negotiate, be it full rounds or smaller settings, every week from June 29 until the one that begins on July 27 in Brussels or London.

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