Meeting between European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, 8 January 2020

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Publication Date 2020
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Overview and information on a meeting between the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and the United Kingdom's Prime Minister Boris Johnson on 8 January 2020. This was the first time Ms von der Leyen visited the United Kingdom to meet Mr Johnson since taking office.

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The meeting focused on the forthcoming discussions relating to the relationship between the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) after the country's withdrawal from the EU (also known as Brexit) at the end of the month. Both leaders agreed that both sides share common values and many interests, and that there are many areas where cooperation on the global stage remained invaluable.

Ms von der Leyen highlighted that the EU fully respects the decision by the UK to leave the Union. She also pointed out that this decision brings consequences, as no relationship can be as close as being a member of the European Union. The Commission President also reaffirmed that there is a trade-off between any regulatory divergence and access to the EU single market. Mr Johnson stated that his priority was to implement the Withdrawal Agreement by 31 January 2020. He expressed his wish to agree a broad Free Trade Agreement (FTA) covering good and services, and cooperation in other areas. However, he also pointed out he would not extend the so-called 'transition period' beyond the end of 2020. Mr Johnson argued that any future partnership must not involve any kind of alignment or jurisdiction by the European Court of Justice (ECJ), and that the UK would also retain control of its fishing waters and immigration system.

Related Link(s)
Commentary and Analysis
New Statesman, 09/01/2020: Yes, Boris Johnson could get an EU trade deal this year. But at what cost?
BBC News, 09/01/2020: Why Brexit Stage Two may turn into a rocky ride
Euro|topics, January 2020: Von der Leyen in London: first Brexit showdown
Deutsche Welle, 09/01/2020: Can Britain really do the trade deal it wants with the EU?
The Economist, 11/01/2020: Britain is almost out of the EU—but what next?

The Guardian, 06/01/2020: Brexit: Boris Johnson to open trade talks with Ursula von der Leyen
Channel4 News, 08/01/2020: EU Commission President rules out full UK trade deal in 2020
The Guardian, 08/01/2020: Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen have 'positive' meeting
EurActiv, 08/01/2020: Johnson to make Brexit demands in talks with von der Leyen

European Commission: Readout of the meeting between President Ursula von der Leyen and Prime Minister Boris Johnson, 8 January 2020
UK Government: Press Release, 08/01/2020: PM meeting with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen: 8 January 2020

ESO Records
Old friends, new beginnings: building another future for the EU-UK partnership [Speech by Ursula von der Leyen, 8 January 2020]

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