British Prime Minister Boris Johnson flew to Brussels, Belgium, on the 9th to have dinner with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, trying to “push” from the highest level and reach a future relationship agreement between Britain and the EU on time before the end of the year.
But after eating this three-hour “meal”, the effect is “the end of the world”.
Von der Leyen later issued a statement saying: “We have had a lively and interesting discussion on the progress of the negotiations made in a series of pending issues, so that we can clearly understand the other party’s positions. They are still far from each other.
The two sides decided to give each other another four days to negotiate, and then make a final decision on whether it is necessary to continue negotiations on the 13th.
AFP quoted British government sources as saying that the two sides talked “candidly”, but there was a “great gap” in their positions. During this week, the two sides made two “long” calls and met “dinner conversations”, but there was no “breakthrough”.
EU negotiator Michel Barnier and British representative David Frost have somewhat drawn their positions in the past eight months of negotiations. However, the two sides stressed that it is difficult to compromise on several key issues, including how to guarantee the “level playing field” for enterprises of both sides in the European market, the establishment of a performance supervision and dispute settlement mechanism, the border arrangement between Ireland and the United Kingdom of Northern Ireland, and the allocation of fishery resources.
Britain has repeatedly stated that if it cannot reach an agreement on the future economic and trade relations between Britain and Europe before the end of the year, it will not hesitate to “brexit without agreement”. The European Union said that the transition negotiations could be postponed to next year.
However, experts on European issues told Xinhua News Agency that the tough stance of the two sides is not only out of the needs of practical interests and principled issues, but also a negotiating strategy, putting pressure on the other party in the hope of receiving more benefits.
Before leaving for Brussels, Johnson told the British Parliament that there was still a “good opportunity to negotiate a good deal”, but insisted that whether the agreement could be negotiated or not, Britain could achieve a “strong prosperity”.
Ding Chun, director of the Center for European Studies of Fudan University, said that one of the bottom lines of the EU is that Britain cannot achieve Brexit at no cost or at a very low cost, so as not to set a “bad example” for other member states; the Johnson administration needs to explain to the people on the so-called “full exercise of sovereignty by Britain” it promised.
In terms of economy and trade volume, Britain is more dependent on the EU, but after all, after 47 years of EU membership, economic interests are highly integrated with each other. Whether the agreement can be reached and the specific arrangements have potentially far-reaching implications for both sides. Judging from the interaction of high-level “call”, “dinner” and “delayed negotiations”, it is certain that the two sides are sure. There is a willingness to reach an agreement to avoid a “hard Brexit”.
Gao Jian, director of the British Research Center of Shanghai International Studies University, believes that the Johnson government is facing pressure of “infighting” between the Conservative Party and Parliament, and the coronavirus epidemic has hit the British economy seriously. The US-UK free trade agreement seems to be expected to land quickly.
There are not many “cards” in its hands, and I’m afraid that it can’t afford to bear the “no-deal Brexit” leading to the market The consequences of chaos and further harming national interests. At present, the two sides are more likely to “seek common ground while putting aside differences, put aside disputes” and reach a certain principled agreement within the deadline, and postpone the details.