Biden win strengthens EU's hand in post-Brexit trade deal talks, says German MEP Manfred Weber

Biden win strengthens EU's hand in post-Brexit trade deal talks, says German MEP Manfred Weber
Copyright Jean-Francois Badias/Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
By Christopher PitchersEfi Koutsokosta
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The UK has been weakened in trade deal talks with the EU after the election of Joe Biden, says MEP Manfred Weber.


Joe Biden's victory in the race for the White House is a boost for Brussels in its talks with London over a post-Brexit trade deal, a top MEP has told Euronews.

German MEP Manfred Weber, who leads the largest political grouping in the European Parliament, said the "immediate impact" will be that talks between the United Kingdom and the European Union are "better for us Europeans".

"Boris Johnson cannot say to the citizens in Great Britain that he will get an immediate, great trade deal with the Americans," said Weber, leader of the European People's Party. "Nobody will buy this anymore.

"On the other hand, Biden was always a clear supporter of the Good Friday Agreement, strengthening the Irish position in the talks. So, it is creating positive leverage for us as Europeans in the talks with our British friends."

US warning over Brexit bill

The British government has introduced an Internal Market Bill which would allow it to override key clauses of the Withdrawal Agreement struck with the EU. The legislation prompted Brussels to launch legal proceedings against London, arguing it went against international law and would significantly endanger the peace accord in Ireland.

US lawmakers on both sides of the aisle also warned the UK prior to the November 3 presidential election that a trade deal between the two countries would be impossible if it proceeded with the bill, over fears it could spark sectarian violence once more in Ireland. 

But Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisted on Sunday in an interview with the Associated Press that "the whole point of the bill and indeed the Finance Bill is to protect and uphold the Good Friday Agreement and the peace process in Northern Ireland."

"Again that's one of the things that we're united on with our friends in the White House," he added.

On the issue of a trade deal with the EU, for which he had previously set a deadline of mid-October, he said: "I've always been a great enthusiast for a trade deal with our European friends and partners, I think it's there to be done."

"The broad outlines are pretty clear, we just need to get on and do it if we can, I said that to Ursula von der Leyen just yesterday (November 7) and she totally agrees with me," he continued.

The Brexit transition period will expire on December 31 and if no deal is agreed and ratified by lawmakers in Westminster and Brussels, trade between the two sides will revert to World Trade Organisation rules which is likely to cause serious delays.

'Trump's politics has failed'

Weber also emphasised to Euronews that Trump's loss could have an impact on European politics.

"The way Trump did politics has failed. People didn't vote for him. He didn't get a majority and that's quite unique, not to be re-elected as an acting president in America. That's why the message is clear and there are a lot of populists in Europe that lost in a way their hero, their symbol, their positive example."

And without even a second to blink, trade between the US and the EU has been shoved back into the spotlight, after the EU announced Monday its decision to continue with tariffs against US products.

But Weber said this was a good thing, a chance to reset trade relations.

"One of the main aspects of the new proposal toward the EU-US relationship should be an upgraded, newly discussed TTIP [technical term for EU-US trade deal] agreement. We need to restart the debate about trade between EU-US.

"Together we represent 50% of the global GDP, Europe and America together, and that gives us the reassurance that we can set - in the upcoming decades together as a Western society with democracy, with freedom with rule of law - the rules for tomorrow's world and not the Chinese, to be frank on this."

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