Saturday, October 17, 2020

A guide to interpreting Merkel, Macron, Johnson and Barnier

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Emmanuel Macron
The French president is the European Union’s sabre-rattler-in-chief as talks go into the ultimate straight over the following two or three weeks.

President Macron has horrified different European governments, particularly in Berlin, by saying that “no deal is best than a nasty deal” for French fishermen.

His hardline place implies that the destiny of a fleet of small fishing boats working within the Channel out of France is now extra pivotal than a free-trade settlement that’s important to most European economies.

Mr Macron wants to point out voters that he’s sticking up for his fishermen though a no-deal situation might badly harm the broader French economic system in addition to wounding relations with Britain, his nation’s closest navy ally.

Immediately’s summit might be derailed by one of many French president’s well-known table-banging explosions as different EU leaders inform him that there are larger fish to fry than his share of cod quotas within the Channel.

Boris Johnson
The British prime minister wants one thing from a summit that he set as the important thing deadline for persevering with with, or strolling away from, negotiations.

Mr Johnson’s deadline of at this time for an settlement, and his hints that he would stroll away, had been seen as theatre and never taken too critically on the EU aspect.

The prime minister informed Ursula von der Leyen, the European Fee president, final night time that his authorities wanted to see negotiations stepped up, with every day talks on draft authorized texts.

He has allies. Eire and, critically, Germany and different international locations with a concentrate on exports are able to search for a touchdown zone if the federal government offers extra binding ensures that future British subsidy controls will probably be rigorous.

One European authorities has described negotiating with Mr Johnson as like Mary Poppins persuading a baby to take their drugs, and there’s consensus {that a} “spoonful of sugar” on fishing will assist him to swallow the tablet of concessions on subsidies.

Angela Merkel
Behind the scenes at at this time’s summit the German chancellor is attempting to dealer a deal, and her greatest drawback is on her personal aspect.

Angela Merkel should speak President Macron down from the ledge of his menace to explode Brexit negotiations over fishing except French fishing quotas are preserved.

She is going to remind him that the overwhelming majority of EU international locations don’t have any fishing pursuits and want a commerce settlement to keep away from much more financial ache amid a recession attributable to the coronavirus pandemic.

On the identical time the German chief is dismayed at feedback from Boris Johnson that there’s “nothing to concern” from a no-deal situation.

She is going to inform European leaders — and the message has been relayed to Mr Johnson throughout a video convention name — that voters on either side of the Channel will probably be unforgiving if there’s chaos and disruption within the new yr due to a no-deal.

Michel Barnier
The EU’s lead negotiator should stroll a tightrope on the summit at this time. Whereas a deal is shut, he should play up a scarcity of progress on subsidy controls and enforcement.

Until he does so, he dangers European leaders starting to choose aside what’s starting to emerge as a fragile and fragile compromise with Lord Frost, his British counterpart.

He’s eager to maintain the dialogue basic or, as one EU supply mentioned, “strategic”, somewhat than stepping into the element of any potential compromises.

As a former French fishing minister, he is aware of the sensitivities and the danger if he prematurely discusses elements of a possible deal earlier than it’s all agreed.

He remembers that at a European Council assembly in Salzburg two years in the past President Macron exploded with anger over speak of EU concessions earlier than a ultimate withdrawal deal had been sealed.

A posh dance and choreography has been deliberate over the summit to permit him the political area to compromise — particularly on fishing — over the following fortnight.

An oven-ready fait accompli will then be introduced to EU leaders at a particular summit at the start of November.

Via: The Times

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