Heightening Tensions Prompt Concerns Over Future EU/UK Relations

As tensions between Brussels and Britain continue to grow, concerns have been raised over future relations between the two sides.

Restart Brexit talks because UK is ‘less safe and less secure’, Tory group tells Boris Johnson
Johnson, flanked by David Frost, left, and British ambassador to the EU Tim Barrow/Picture credit: Financial Times

As tensions between Brussels and Britain continue to grow, concerns have been raised over future relations between the two sides.

In just six weeks after the Brexit transition period, disputes over several issues including Northern Ireland and trade had begun to strain the relationship between Britain and the EU.

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“Is there going to be healthy competition or will you end up in all-out confrontation and conflict? It’s not clear which way it will go,” a Brexit expert at London`s Institute for Government, Maddy Thimont Jack said.

The new “trade and co-operation agreement” signed in December prompted border tensions and has seriously impacted the UK`s exports to the EU, with increased border checks and paperwork. In recent weeks, the two sides were grappling over vaccines after the EU failed to secure a deal in time with a British firm on supplies before the vaccines were approved.

One senior EU official says: “There has to be a wish to change things. If not, we will be in a tough, ‘permanent alert’ situation. It would be unfortunate if there was a tit-for-tat relationship.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson had already speculated “teething problems” between the two sides post-Brexit.

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“When an aeroplane takes off, you sometimes get an increased level of turbulence,” Michael Gove, a leading Brexiter UK cabinet minister, said in a statement to the parliamentarians. “Eventually the crew tell you to take your seat belts off and enjoy a gin and tonic and peanuts. We’re not at the gin and tonic and peanuts stage yet.”

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