Unlike almost every trade agreement in history, this one will result in more friction and less cooperation than before

As the seemingly interminable Brexit negotiations draw to their final conclusion, both Boris Johnson and the EU negotiators are reverting to type. For the EU, this means making – and then withdrawing – an 11th-hour proposal for a “ratchet clause” that would ensure “dynamic alignment” with “level-playing field conditions”. For Johnson, it meant a festival of xenophobia: first insulting the French, then threatening to use gunboats to fight EU fishermen, and finally causing deep offence to Angela Merkel and the German people. It is shaming.

Yet the talks continue. Though their methods may differ, both Britain and the EU have a common interest in raising the temperature in the last stage of thrashing out a deal. Just as Johnson plays the politics of the gutter press, the EU is also a political entity. For their own audiences, each has to give the impression of fighting for their interests to the bitter end. The two sides released an almost laughably downbeat joint statement at lunchtime saying the talks would go on. They are in this together, after all.

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Source: Business – The Guardian

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