International relations specialist Mónica Dias is convinced that the European Union will not be able to reach an agreement with the United Kingdom until December 31 and that the process “will remain” for the Portuguese presidency.
Coordinator of the PhD program at the Institute of Political Studies of the Portuguese Catholic University, Mónica Dias admits that the deadline for concluding an agreement on the future relationship between Brussels and London “will be postponed, just as many other deadlines have been postponed”, at least until January 31st.
The European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom are currently negotiating the terms of their relationship after the ‘Brexit’, which took place on 31 January and is currently in the so-called transition period, which ends on 31 December.
But, after successive rounds of negotiations with no visible progress and the Boris Johnson Government having presented a draft law that partially annuls the Withdrawal Agreement, the European Council on Thursday called on the 27 to prepare themselves “for all kinds of scenarios, including the ‘no-deal’ ”.
“Brexit” I believe will not be resolved by this presidency [alemã] and, yes, it will be left to Portugal ”, says Mónica Dias in a telephone interview with Lusa.
“I foresee that, taking into account the latest decisions of the British government, there are many issues that cannot be resolved peacefully by the end of December, namely the issue of the border of Northern Ireland and Ireland, which [que] it is not peaceful ”, he explains.
For the academic, and although Boris Johnson refused to extend the transition period, that will be the likely outcome, because “an abrupt exit” implies “very serious” economic consequences for both parties.
“Boris Johnson often says things and then says nothing. In fact, notice, he signs the agreement with the European Union, made by him, and months later he presents a law to contradict that ”, he points out, criticizing the British Prime Minister’s attitude as“ an example of a politician that discredits the confidence that the population can have on political leaders ”.
Mónica Dias argues that one should “look beyond these spotlights” and “this stage in which loud and clear strength and convictions are affirmed” and take into account the weight that the negative effects of an exit without agreement will have on the form how the current EU Council presidency, in the hands of Germany, will manage the process.
“Obviously I don’t know how to do futurology, but I would say that the European Union can always find solutions and, taking into account the ability to [a chanceler alemã] Angela Merkel to negotiate and achieve commitments and pragmatic results, I would say that there will probably be, in December, after many hours of negotiation, an exceptional period of departure from Britain until January 31st. And we will walk like this ”, considers Mónica Dias.
The academic stresses that “Germany’s great power is still the economic dimension” and considers that it will be “that argument that Angela Merkel will play”.
“Attention, economic well-being on both sides of the English Channel is fundamental, it is this economic issue that will then allow an extension of the term. Because notice, in fact, with an extension of the deadline, nobody loses face and we can continue to negotiate ”, he says.
Mónica Dias also stresses that, “even with the United Kingdom leaving the European Union, there is much more that unites the United Kingdom and European partners than what divides them”, citing the human rights policy, the relationship with China , sustainability, the United Nations, “so many and so many dossiers” in which “there is unity”.
The expert considers, however, that there are no conditions for the process to have a well-defined basis of agreement when the Portuguese presidency of the EU begins, which takes place between January 1 and June 30, 2021.
“I think not. We have so many ‘dossiers’ on the table related to the pandemic, the situation not only in terms of health but also the serious economic problems that people are experiencing in Europe, that it seems to me that this ‘dossier’ is not going to go as far ” considers.
“At the moment, neither party, nor Boris Johnson himself, is interested in finding a hammered solution that will then create immense internal policy problems. Therefore, it is better to say, ‘let’s postpone’.
The academic evokes an idea defended a few months ago by the respective governments that the current trio of presidencies would be a “GPS”, starting from the initials, in English, of the three countries that exercise the presidency of the EU successively (Germany, Portugal, Slovenia), to illustrate the ‘Brexit’ process.
“GPS takes us safely to the destination, but we sometimes have to take into account that there are different paths, other routes that we were not anticipating, that there are delays. And so we will get there, but probably only at the end of this GPS ”.
The presidency of the Council of the European Union is held rotatingly by the European countries for periods of six months, grouped in “trios” of three Member States that exercise them consecutively and elaborate a joint program.
The current trio started on July 1 with Germany, which holds the presidency until December 31, followed by Portugal, between January 1 and June 30, 2021, and Slovenia, between July 1 and 31 December 2021.
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