EU tells Johnson it will not buy a ‘pig in a poke’ trade deal

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Boris Johnson and the European Union’s leaders have agreed that “new momentum” is required to revive trade talks between the UK and the bloc.

The UK has called for a post-Brexit agreement to be reached by the end of the summer, but European Council chief Charles Michel said the EU would not be pressured into buying a “pig in a poke”.

Four rounds of negotiations have so far made little progress, but the two sides have agreed to an “intensified” negotiating timetable as the clock counts down to the end of the current transition period at the end of year.

The EU has formally accepted that the UK would not seek any extension to the transition which allows Britain continued access to the single market while talks continue.

In a joint statement, the two sides said: “The parties welcomed the constructive discussions on the future relationship that had taken place under the leadership of chief negotiators David Frost and Michel Barnier, allowing both sides to clarify and further understand positions.

“They noted that four rounds had been completed and texts exchanged despite the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The parties agreed nevertheless that new momentum was required.  They supported the plans agreed by chief negotiators to intensify the talks in July and to create the most conducive conditions for concluding and ratifying a deal before the end of 2020.

“This should include, if possible, finding an early understanding on the principles underlying any agreement.”

The EU side were represented in the summit by Michel, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and European Parliament president David Sassoli.

Michel underlined the EU’s commitment to the “level playing field” – a key demand aimed at ensuring fair competition by preventing the UK straying too far from Brussels’ rules on workers’ rights, environmental protections and state subsidies.

The government has resisted the demand, arguing that it limits the UK’s sovereignty and goes further than conditions imposed on other countries the EU has signed trade deals with.

Michel said a “broad and ambitious” agreement was in both sides’ interests but the level playing field was “essential”.

The EU was “ready to put a tiger in the tank but not to buy a pig in a poke”.

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  • Show Comments
    1. Johnson is a liar. I would not trust anything he said. He cannot be trusted by EU. He cannot be trusted by USA. Hard Brexit supporters put their faith in World Trade Organisation (WTO) as if it were the natural ally of post-Brexit ‘global Britain’ but WTO does not trust Johson or support Brexit or particularly welcome having to work with a sociopath like Johnson and his Cabinet of Fools.

      Roberto Azevedo, WTO director-general, told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show :

      “The [best option for the UK is to find a way to secure] less turbulence [in trade with the EU, which] is the closest to what you were before [Brexit].”

      “So in my view, if you can maintain the degree of integration and relationship [with the EU] that you had before Brexit, it is a less dramatic situation, of course, than if you had to go to WTO terms – which it is not a catastrophe.”

      On WTO terms, he added: “It only covers a number of adjustments and those adjustments can be painful particularly for some sectors.

      “Overall, I think there is a pretty good chance that an agreement can be reached. Again, in my view the less changes the better.”

      What Roberto Azevedo means is that UK already had the best trade deal it could get with the EU, it should try to keep that kind of deal. And, while he cannot refuse to oversee WTO-rules trade deals for the UK, he is dreading having to do it because it is going to be punishing for all involved. He has seen how Tories under May and Johnson have behaved and he does not want them turning up to shit on his doorstep. Who would?

      Every current and future trade partner (or anyone negotiating with UK government under Johson) must be convinced that they are dealing with people who are stupid, stubborn, selfish, reckless, irrational, conceited, dishonest, and deluded. They cannot be trusted as far as they can be thrown.

      I think everyone doing any kind of deal with Johnson’s government must know that every agreement is just a piece of paper that Johnson will tear up and ignore if it suits him. And if Johnson does not renage on his agreements, as soon as there is a change of government, the UK will disown every trade deal or treaty and seek to renegotiate on a more rational and ethical and efficient basis.

      Everyone of any intelligence around the world must want rid of Johnson. He is subverting trade, the rule of law, diplomacy, and international relations. And for nothing except vanity and the vacuous greed of his chums in the oligarchy. Johnson is another tin-pot dictator like Kim of North Korea but located at the heart of things – in a nominal democracy, in Western Europe, sitting on the G7 or G20 or UN or NATO and other important international bodies. He is like a cancer eating into every achievement of the post-1945 era and undermining its efforts for international cooperation, peace, prosperity, improving standards of living for the ‘common folk’. He is a sort of human virus. Or locust. Just destroying because that is all he is programmed to do.

      I think the EU have finally realised that Cummings and Johnson do not have some sort of ‘cunning plan’ that they will unveil at the last moment. They have no real plan or purpose or principle. They are smashing everything because of their own pathology. Just pathology. Not ‘genius’. If you want a plan, look behind these puppets and see the others in the shadows who are allowing these monsters to smash everything – so that their chums behind the scenes can profit.

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