Sunday, September 19

Macron and Merkel don’t pick up Johnson’s phone and Rutte asks him to stay in London


Brussels

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If the British prime minister thought he could make European governments nervous about the looming no-deal disconnect between the EU and the UK, the strategy has completely failed. Today it has been known that last Monday, Johnson tried to talk to the French president on the phone Emmanuel Macron and the german chancellor Angela Merkel, before the planned dinner with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, but neither of them answered the call. Both decided to send him the message that the EU stands together and that it speaks through the Commission and the negotiator Michel barnier.

The British prime minister has also not succeeded in his idea of ​​waiting for the European summit that began yesterday Thursday and which ended this morning to enter into the detailed discussion on the status of the negotiations on the future agreement. Actually, the Brexit discussion lasted less than ten minutes, once important issues, such as the multi-year budget or the recovery fund, have been agreed. From London, Johnson has reacted by saying that he would be willing “to go to negotiate in Paris, Berlin or Brussels” but the Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, has replied that “he will do better staying in London to support his negotiating team like us. we back ours.

Johnson has also received a resounding warning from the other side of the world. In his television appearance on Thursday, the British Prime Minister said that in principle The Canadian model, which has a free trade agreement with the EU, seemed better to him, but that the Australian formula would not seem bad either. Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull responded to him on social media, telling him to “be careful what you wish for” because the Australian model “has a lot of trade friction” and that they have been trying for two years – so far without success – to get the EU to them. grant a better formula.

The president of the European Commission has been asked by British journalists at the end of the summit about this situation and about the arguments put forward by Johnson according to which the proposal of the European Union to keep the United Kingdom bound to EU economic regulations was a attack on British sovereignty. Von der Leyen replied clearly that what the EU requires is the UK to accept a framework of rules to sustain fair competition in exchange for maintaining preferential access for its products to the European market, that is, without tariffs or quotas. According to Von der Leyen, the UK “will remain free, sovereign if you want to use this word” to decide what is best for it. And if the British rules are to be separated from the European ones, the EU ‘will adapt the conditions of access of British products to our market and vice versa. But it will always be a British decision. ‘

According to what was agreed on Wednesday between Johnson and Von der Leyen, on Sunday the two parties will decide “which way to go with the negotiations” that are continuing at the moment. Both from Brussels and from London it is considered that there is practically no possibility of a solution being reached before Sunday and it has been publicly reported since it is time to start taking contingency measures for what is going to happen from Monday . Theoretically there are three possibilities, or announce an agreement, give it up or decide to agonizingly prolong the negotiations.

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