Brexit Bulletin: France Mocks Boris Johnson

(Bloomberg) --

What’s Happening?  France slaps down Boris Johnson's threat to walk away without a deal.

France’s Europe minister didn’t mince her words. In a speech to a London think tank, Amelie de Montchalin fired a series of warnings at the British prime minister ahead of the first round of trade talks between the U.K. and the European Union next week.

Brexit Bulletin: France Mocks Boris Johnson

Johnson’s threat to leave without a deal? “For the birds.” Britain’s hopes for a Canada-style trade deal? “The U.K. is not Canada.” Freedom from those irksome EU rules? “We need a strong level playing field.” That threat to walk away if there’s no progress by June? “We do not accept time pressure.” And don’t even think of backsliding on any commitments made in the Withdrawal Agreement.

Her comments set the scene for a difficult first round of negotiations on Monday. It’s increasingly clear that the key problem will be how to square Britain’s refusal to be subject to the European Court of Justice with the EU's insistence that it’s the only body that can rule on the bloc’s law. The EU wants the U.K. to apply its state aid rules, and thus accept the jurisdiction of the court — but Britain wants to have its own policy.

Resolving all this, if that’s even possible, will take many rounds of talks and many late nights. Brexit's second act may be shorter than the first, but it’s set to be no less dramatic.

Beyond Brexit

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  • A feud within the family of two reclusive billionaires became very public following a court hearing that revealed Frederick Barclay was being secretly recorded by his nephew at the Ritz Hotel.
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Brexit in Brief

Boris Boost | U.K. house prices climbed at the strongest annual pace since July 2018 this month, continuing a positive trend following Johnson’s election win, according to Nationwide Building Society.

Brexit Bulletin: France Mocks Boris Johnson

Form Fillers | As many as 50,000 people will have to be hired to fill out additional customs paperwork — even under a Canada-style trade deal, the Financial Times reports.

Big Business | Britain’s largest companies wanted to stop Brexit. They failed, and Johnson’s government is less inclined to listen to them, Patrick O’Flynn writes in the Spectator.

Defying Gravity | Britain’s hardline stance on EU talks makes no deal possible, but it will be hard for the country to avoid the pull of its biggest trading partner forever, writes Bloomberg Opinion’s Therese Raphael.

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