July 1-Germany begins its presidency in the EU Council. And this is good news for the UK — London hopes that Angela Merkel will help him in discussing future relations with the EU after Brexit. Now negotiations have stalled, despite the agreement of the parties to intensify too deep contradictions between the parties. However, in London, and in Berlin I expect that pragmatic Merkel will influence the dialogue the better.
Brexit has again become Central in the European Union topic. Although the UK left the Commonwealth, the parties are now negotiating the future coexistence with each other — the process is no easier than negotiating the release of London from the EU.
London and Brussels has had the opportunity to exchange caustic remarks and mutual accusations against each other. On Monday held talks with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. The parties managed to agree only on the need to give new impetus to the dialogue, stalled because of too profound contradictions in the positions.
But now Britain is hoping that the negotiations with the EU on the terms and conditions of their future together will help Germany. The transition period ends on 31 December 2020, and London once again confirmed its intention not to extend this period, although the time to complete the negotiations and so there was little (Britain left the Commonwealth ten months later than originally planned, in connection with the expiration of the transition period has significantly decreased).
In addition, the process intervened a pandemic, suspended for a month process and forcing parties to communicate by video. However, the main obstacle to dialogue, there remain serious contradictions between the parties on the most important issues — fishing, respect for common rules and standards for the preservation of the single market, the competence of the European court of justice and cooperation in criminal law.
The European Union insists that all of these issues have already been discussed in the political Declaration, under which London has signed up to. Now the UK refuses arrangements.
London, however, expects that he will be able to persuade Brussels to compromise, and in this case he looked forward to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. From 1 July Berlin begins its six-month presidency in the EU Council and the UK believe that this fact plays to the British on hand.
Despite the fact that Brussels is a dialogue, the head of the EU delegation in the negotiations with London, Michel Barnier, with whom the United Kingdom has already managed to exchange barbs, and the Commonwealth does not intend to change the negotiating mandate, the presidency of the Council of the EU plays an important role in maintaining the unity of the 27 countries and search of potential compromises which may be acceptable to them.
The German Ambassador to the EU Michael Klauss said recently that Brexit “will absorb all or most of the political attention,” the German presidency in September and October. It is at that time the European Union expects to conclude an agreement with the UK.
In London, hopes for German protection based on the reputation of a pragmatist Chancellor of Germany, and also on the belief that Berlin intends to avoid the scenario of the “hard” break with Britain — without any agreement that will hurt the exports of the European Union.
“Angela Merkel has historically shown itself to be pragmatic and less doctrinaire than, for example, [French President Emmanuel] macron — quoted Politico the words of the Deputy-conservator of the UK David Jones, a former Junior Minister for Brexit.
— It recognizes the reality of leaving the UK and understands the mutual importance of the Anglo-German trade. I expect that the German presidency will reflect the pragmatism Merkel — fortunately, this will happen in the final stages of negotiations about future relations.”
One British official told Politico that the “Merkel factor” in the negotiation process, of course, is positively perceived by the government. He said that London is happy with the fact that preside over the EU during the negotiations on the agreement would be “someone with experience and authority of Merkel.”
This idea is to some extent reflected in Berlin.
“If the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, will trust the head of a foreign government, it will be Merkel. She always respected the voice of the British people, even if she doesn’t agree with him”, — said earlier the jürgen Hardt, the foreign policy expert of the CDU Angela Merkel.
However, one only desire of Germany to conclude with the London the deal before the end of the year a little. The fact that one of the main contradictions of the parties was the position of the so-called “level playing field” that ensures fair competition in the market.
Brussels is ready to grant Britain access to the European market with a capacity of 450 million people. However, London must agree to comply with the EU rules and to adhere to the same standards, not only technical, but also in employment and the environment. The UK government, however, are not willing to agree to such conditions.
Meanwhile, the German automotive sector, one of the major exporters Germany, and some other companies, export-oriented, argue that, although the absence of a deal with London and they will inflict damage, the disintegration of the single market through the conclusion of a too generous deal much more dangerous for them.
“The priority of which tell us of the enterprise is a single European market. All, undermining the domestic market, which is already under sufficient pressure from the crisis because of the coronavirus, or anything that can attract imitators, must be rejected,” said Volker Treier, head of foreign trade Department of the German chamber of Commerce.
He also said that the German government has recently appealed to it and other associations, in order to guarantee that the industry still maintains this position regarding Brexit.
“I told them, no tricky deals. No small sectoral agreements with Switzerland”, — he stressed.
In other words, how would Merkel nor was pragmatic, and as if she neither feared the absence of an agreement with the UK, the Chancellor is unlikely to make the compromises that are contrary to the interests of Germany and of the whole Commonwealth.
“What Johnson can certainly expect from Angela Merkel is that she will do everything possible to support him in carrying out his policy, unless it would be contrary to the fundamental interests of the EU,” said jürgen Hardt.
Meanwhile, the time for negotiations remains critically low. And despite the optimism of Johnson, who expects to conclude the deal by July, in Germany there is skepticism that an agreement can be reached even by the fall.
However, in Berlin there is a widespread assumption that the closer the deadline, previously scheduled for October, the Chancellor of Germany will increasingly call Johnson to advance in the negotiation process.
“She’s got flair. But she can’t spare the Britons from the fact that some castles in the air and insoluble contradictions that were promised as part of Brexit, will fall apart,” says Hardt.
“With its deadpan and unemotional nature of Merkel definitely has the best chance of reaching a workable compromise,” — said Volker Treier.