BORIS JOHNSON JOINS BREXIT TRADE TALKS WITH LITTLE HOPE FOR A DEAL
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will join a video-conference with EU leaders on Monday, keen to make headway in negotiations on a future EU-UK relationship, but officials in Brussels expect no breakthrough in the Brexit deadlock, John Chalmers and Jan Strupczewski reported for Reuters on June 15, 2020.
Britain’s Mail on Sunday reported that Johnson would use the meeting to “bang the table,” pressing the 27-nation EU to aim for an agreement by the end of the summer and not to use the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to drag its feet but the Europeans are not expected to cave in to Johnson’s histrionics, with Britain more likely to lose out as its total trade with the bloc is 40% while its trade with the US only accounts for 15% of its total trade.
However, officials in Brussels said the afternoon discussion with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and the heads of the European Council and European Parliament was a long-scheduled stock-taking exercise, not a negotiation.
“No one expects any breakthrough unless Boris Johnson decides to surprise us,” said one senior official. “This meeting was scheduled in the withdrawal agreement, so it is happening but no one expects much.”