London resumes negotiations with Europe without possible extension

Enrique SerbetoFOLLOWCorrespondent in Brussels Updated: 06/30/2020 02:41 h Save With a pandemic of terrifying effects throughout the country and serious economic consequences, several attacks with a white weapon that recall the worst terrorist acts, few Britons have stopped to think that the deadline for Tuesday is the one to ask for a new extension that would avoid that if there is no agreement on their future relations with the EU, on December 31 they are completely disconnected from all points of view. In part, the fact that the pandemic and compulsory quarantine that the Boris Johnson government has already decreed offers a kind of psychological training that allows them to get an idea of ​​what this total break with the continent could be if an agreement were not reached. Yesterday, a new round of negotiations began, finally live, that is, not by videoconference, so it is assumed that the possibility that the situation will finally unblock is not yet impossible. Anyway, the British Government had declared in all possible tones that it would not ask for any further extension of the transitional period and in the last round of negotiations, the European Commission team led by Michel Barnier had ostentatiously noted this will, because in this case it would also complicate things a lot. If the United Kingdom wanted to extend the current situation beyond 31 December, it would have to start contributing to next year’s Community budget, which would also be a puzzle for the accounts of the Community Executive and would probably need negotiations as complex as those currently under way. In any case, for now, the central problems of the negotiation remain and nothing suggests that an agreement will be easy. Barnier has warned that a result must be achieved before the end of October, so that the ratification process that must go through all national parliaments is possible. Such an agreement with a third country can normally take several years. With the United Kingdom, it is about diverging from a very close position, such as that of its EU membership, so in a way it will be easier, provided that the will to reach an agreement prevails. For now, this is not the case on the subject of common rules to continue having access to the European market or on fisheries.