The coronavirus has monopolized the world. But the Brexit is still going on and if, by the end of the year, coinciding with the great global recession that all the experts are predicting, the United Kingdom leaves the EU without any other pact than the terms set by the World Trade Organization (WTO), the situation will be complex. Both for London and for the members of the bloc.
The truth is that the outlook today is not encouraging. This week the third round of negotiations took place, by videoconference, between London and Brussels and Michel Barnier, responsible for the EU side, described it yesterday as “disappointing”. “There seems to be a real lack of understanding about the objective mechanical consequences of the British choice to leave. The UK will have to be more realistic. It will have to go beyond this lack of understanding,” he added. David Frost, responsible for the British side, regretted “that so little progress has been made towards an agreement on the most important outstanding issues”.
In the era of the covid-19, the departure of the British from the community club sounds like past battles. Indeed, after four long years of tragicomedy or psychodrama – depending on your point of view – the UK officially ceased to be a member of the EU on 31 January. However, for all practical purposes, everything remains the same until the end of the year. During the transition period, both sides now have to negotiate their future relations, including trying to conclude a trade agreement.