Thanks to the contribution of British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, it was possible to establish the process of economic rapprochement of the country with the European Union (EU), as well as to reset relations between the parties, writes the Financial Times (FT).
It is noted that the EU leadership did not trust the former Prime Minister Boris Johnson. So when Sunak met with the head of the European Commission (EC), Ursula von der Leyen, in November 2022, politicians immediately realized that they could succeed together.
According to the interlocutors of the publication, that meeting on the sidelines of the COP27 climate change conference ended the period of confrontation between London and Brussels. Then the parties began discussing the Ukrainian conflict and the climate agenda, after which the discussions turned to the details of the economic rapprochement of the parties.
British officials shared that they wanted to understand whether Brussels intends to “punish” London for withdrawing from the union, and the EU wanted to know if the UK intends to negotiate only in order to blame the European side in front of voters in case of an unsuccessful dialogue.
In order to defuse the situation, Sunak suspended consideration in the House of Lords of the bill on the Protocol on Northern Ireland, which was introduced by his predecessor for a unilateral revision of the treaty with the EU. The bill felt like «a loaded gun lying on the table,» an EU official admitted, adding that Brussels could not negotiate under such conditions.
Earlier, the UK and the EU signed a new agreement within the framework of Brexit, which concerns a change in the protocol for Northern Ireland.