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Post-Brexit talks deadlocked

A few days before the resumption of negotiations between the representatives of the European Union and the United Kingdom, the draft agreement on the future relations between the two parties has stalled. But for Luxembourg MEP Christophe Hansen, “the objective remains to find a global agreement”.

Eddy RENAULD

A few days before the resumption of negotiations between the representatives of the European Union and the United Kingdom, the draft agreement on the future relations between the two parties has stalled. But for Luxembourg MEP Christophe Hansen, “the objective remains to find a global agreement”.

“The negotiations between the European Union and the United Kingdom on their future relations are at an impasse. We will now have to prepare for a no deal scenario, ”Christophe Hansen told MEPs on Monday.

The rapporteur for the INTA Committee of the European Parliament has recognized that “the objective remains to find a global agreement” before the end of June which is the legal deadline for an extension of the transition period.

“Time is short,” said Christophe Hansen, who hopes that the next round of negotiations, scheduled for next week, will be “more constructive”. So far, no progress has been made, neither on the character of the next relations nor on the form that a future treaty can take. While the British are calling for a sectoral approach, EU negotiators are calling for a comprehensive agreement.

Threats on the Place

If the discussions are on good rails in particular in the field of fishing, even if divergent positions persist, many sectors are still in pain such as the future functioning of trade or even the rights of citizens (three million Europeans live in UK and one million Britons in the 27 EU countries).

MEPs drew attention to the importance of rules in the area of ​​financial services. The Luxembourg financial center, which still has some 50,000 employees, has important relationships with that of London, it fears in particular the competition of a “Singapore-on-Thames” which would function as an offshore financial center with as a consequence the possible departure of large companies to the United Kingdom. In this context, MEPs mentioned access to the European passport for British investment funds.

Resumption of negotiations on June 1

Finally, covid-19 pandemic forces, discussions also addressed the potential impact of the crisis on negotiations. Could the current crisis be used to extend the transition phase in order to increase the chances of reaching an agreement by the end of the year? “The current political climate in the United Kingdom is not going in the direction of extending the negotiations,” acknowledged the Luxembourg MEP.

The European Parliament rapporteur is rather concerned that “British politicians will take advantage of the excuse of the crisis” to continue a Brexit approach “at all costs”. In this logic, British politicians could conceal the economic impact of Brexit as a side effect of the negative economic effects linked to the health crisis.

The next round of discussions between Europeans and British is scheduled for this Monday, June 1, by videoconference. As a reminder, the United Kingdom officially left the EU on January 31, but it continues to apply European rules until the end of the year, when the two partners promised to reach an agreement. about their future relationship.

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