Following Britain's confirmed exit from the EU on the 31st January, French foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian warns of tough Brexit negotiations.
The French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warned the UK that Brexit negotiations would not be easy and that the two sides would ‘rip each other apart’ in achieving their goals. Boris Johnson has previously stated that he wanted a deal founded on ‘friendly co-operation between sovereign equals.’
Although Britain officially left the EU on the 31st January, it remains trading just as it might as a member until the end of the transition period on 31st December 2020.
Boris Johnson would like to reach a comprehensive agreement with the EU by the end of the year to end the period of political and economic uncertainty that Britain has found itself in for the last number of years.
Why will an agreement be difficult to reach?
Some of the main points of contention between the two sides are fishing, EU access for financial services and regulatory points. With regards to fishing, Boris Johnson has outlined that he would like Britain to be a ‘coastal state’ that has complete control over its fishing regulations with full autonomy and limited access for the EU. Johnson has also previously expressed Britain’s intent to have EU access for its financial services sector, permanently, and without conditions. To fulfil such demands, the EU has often expressed Britain’s need to align itself with the EU over such areas as chemical regulation, labelling and other regulatory issues.
Despite such points of contention, Downing Street has explained that it would not like a separate, unique deal that specifically benefits Britain but instead a deal similar to those of before, expressly mentioning the agreement between the EU and Canada that is beneficial for both sides involved. The negotiations will start in the next month, once the negotiating mandate with regards to Brexit has been agreed by the EU’s 27 members.
Brexit negotiations are expected to continue until the end of the year although European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has stated her doubt that Boris Johhnson’s aim can be fulfilled, citing a number of issues where the two sides are a long way apart.