Johnson waited three days for the idea that Brexit is already a reality to settle to clearly explain his strategy for the tough negotiations between London and Brussels over the next 11 months. And left no room for doubt. It will not accept any treaty that obliges the United Kingdom to strictly align itself with Community rules – in quality, labor or environmental standards – or to submit to EU courts. “We have long been told that we must choose between full access to the EU’s internal market in exchange for accepting its rules or its courts [lo que se ha llamado el modelo noruego] or a trade agreement that opens markets and avoids all the EU regulatory panoply such as that existing with Canada [CETA, en sus siglas en inglés]. We have already made the decision. We want a global agreement like Canada’s. And in the unlikely event that we do not succeed, the agreement will be based on the withdrawal agreement that we have already signed with Brussels, ”Johnson said. The final choice, he insisted, will be between a relationship similar to that enjoyed by Canada with the EU or Australia – the southern continent is negotiating a new trade agreement with the Twenty-seven, but its scope is less than that of Canada.
Johnson’s announcement marks the first clash with Brussels over the design of the future relationship, a negotiation for which the European Commission approved its draft guidelines on Monday, which aims for a close partnership agreement that would make the United Kingdom an ally. exceptional in commercial matters, judicial cooperation, security, defense and support of a multilateral order.
We must negotiate the best possible relationship ”, stressed the European chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, who declared himself ready to offer an“ ambitious free trade agreement without tariffs or quotas for all goods ”that enter the common market and another“ for everything type of services ”. Barnier stressed that the offer is subject to two conditions: a pact that guarantees that there will be no unfair competition from the other side of the English Channel, and an agreement on the access of European fleets to British waters. And there will be a red line: collaboration will be suspended “automatically” if London abandons the European Court of Human Rights or passes a law that nullifies the rulings of that court, as defended by the most Europhobic wing in the United Kingdom.
Beyond good faith
Johnson, however, is betting on a mere trade agreement, the least ambitious option offered by the EU. To announce his strategy, he summoned businessmen and diplomatic representatives in the Hall of the Hospital of the Old Royal Naval College of Greenwich, in South London, and before what is known as the British Sistine Chapel, an allegory of naval, commercial and UK politician, and introduced himself as the advocate of globalization. Further,
He assured that no type of treaty is necessary for Brussels to be sure that the United Kingdom will not be an unfair competitor. “We are not leaving the EU to destroy its regulatory standards,” he said. “We do not intend to carry out any type of dumping commercial, social or environmental matters. You don’t even need to hear what I say. They just have to look at what the UK does. “
Although the British leader intends to make the negotiations a matter of good faith in this way, the mechanisms to verify a competition on equal terms between the parties are emerging as one of the main obstacles. The Commission also wants the European Court of Justice to have the last word in disputes over Community law that arise, and not an independent arbitration panel on both sides.
Many critics of the prime minister deduce from his words the outcome that they warned at the end of 2019, when Johnson struggled to push through the withdrawal agreement in Parliament and promised that he would avoid a disorderly exit. When the transition period ends on December 31st, if London and Brussels are unable to close a new trade deal, the exit will be, for all intents and purposes, the tough Brexit that Eurosceptics wanted from the start. The Prime Minister’s words seem to confirm the worst omens.