Devil in the Detail? Boris Johnson in Brexit Talks with EU


British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson and European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, will conduct a video call on Saturday afternoon to discuss Brexit.

The call is an attempt to reach an agreement between the UK and EU in time for its implementation by the end of the Transition Period on 31st December 2020.

Tensions between the UK and EU have risen in recent days. The EU has been demanding various concessions from the UK in such areas as states aid to business and access to UK fishing waters. The UK sees these demands as undermining UK sovereignty and reducing the ability of the UK to be competitive in the world economy. On the other hand, the UK Conservative government's determination to pass the 'Internal Market Bill', giving itself the powers to preserve the integrity of the UK market in the event of no agreement, has provoked threats of legal action from Brussels.

If there is no progress in this afternoon's talks, the likelihood of there being no agreement by the time the Transition Period ends, will increase significantly.

There are indications, that will worry Brexit supporters, that Johnson's approach is now to attempt agreement on state aid and fisheries on his terms - thereby gaining positive headlines in the UK - whilst giving away concessions on how the UK will implement those agreements. In other words the small print relating to 'governance' will, in practice, give the EU significant say in how the UK implements and manages its domestic policies in these areas.

The Devil will be in the detail.

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