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The Brief: Brexit - what to expect from future relations?

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By Shona Murray, Joao Duarte Ferreiro
URSULA VON DER LEYEN   -   Copyright  @EC European Commission   -  

The EU Commission’s president, Ursula von der Leyen, is meeting the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson for the first time in London this Wednesday. With Phase One of the Brexit negotiations practically over, it is time to think forward and talk about what the future holds for the relations between the UK and the EU. What can we expect from this meeting?

We spoke to EU analyst Sam Wilkin, managing editor, Mlex, Brussels:

"I think this meeting is really going to set the tone for the relationship. Ursula von der Leyen is the new president of the European Commission, she took office just last month; Boris Johnson has been prime-minister for a little longer than that but, of course, he now has his electoral mandate. After his election he now has a parliamentary majority for the first time, so he has much more free reign domestically in the UK to pursue his agenda".

Boris Johnson has previously mentioned that he wants an ambitious trade deal. But what does this really mean? The Canada model is currently the most comprehensive trade deal the EU has without elements of regulatory alignment.

"Canada will be the closest model among EU's existing trade deals, That currently looks like what the UK is going to try to pursue. It's very interesting in that I think it is probably the first trade in the history of the world that we negotiated from a point of a closer relationship into a looser one," explains Wilkin.

The clock starts ticking from the end of january. The EU and the UK will have 11 months to conclude this agreement. Boris Johnson has already written into law that negotiations will not be extended beyond this deadline, the EU, however, has already said that this is unrealistic.