No time to waste on Brexit: EU worried about Truss as UK new PM

Europe is anticipating Liz Truss’s potential as Britain’s next prime Minister with mixed emotions: Diplomats state that they don’t need another Brexit battle after the war in Ukraine, rampant inflation and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

Truss was the frontrunner in a Conservative party election to succeed Boris Johnson. He has few admirers within the 27-nation European Union.

She was the foreign minister and championed legislation to unilaterally end part of Britain’s EU divorce agreement. As prime minister, she has promised to pass it – a move which would set London on a collision course.

While her rhetoric during the leadership campaign was directed at party members who like to make fun of France and the EU, it will not have helped.

When asked last month if Emmanuel Macron, the French president, was a “friend” or a “foe” for Britain, she responded: “The jury’s out.”

One diplomat based in Brussels said that “in the current context, she finds it baffling that she can afford remarks like these.” “We are 200% focused on the war in Ukraine and widespread inflation. This is urgent.

Officials from Truss’ campaign said that the comments were a joke and would not have any lasting effect on Franco-British relations.

However, a French government source claimed that the comments highlighted the lack of trust between Paris & London. This has been fuelled by claims Macron has not done enough in stemming the flow of migrants by boat to English shores.

Members of Germany’s ruling coalition are not impressed by Truss, and they complain about EU-bashing that distracts from the mounting British domestic problems.

Nils Schmid (social democrat party spokesperson on foreign policy), said that one must also give the new prime minister a chance. “But, anyone who thought things couldn’t get worse after Johnson is being proven wrong. Many statements made by Mrs Truss are wrong or unfortunate.

EU diplomats claim that Truss opposed Britain’s departure from the bloc before the 2016 Brexit referendum. However, she voted for it as a member of Johnson’s cabinet and is therefore unlikely to adopt a more conciliatory approach towards the thorny post-Brexit issues.

Britain left the bloc on Jan. 31, 2020. However, it has been embroiled in a dispute about the rules it had adopted for trading arrangements with Northern Ireland.

The Northern Ireland Protocol of the Brexit deal ensured that the province was included in the EU single marketplace for goods and customs while preserving its open border with EU member Ireland.

Britain claims that the arrangement, which effectively places a border on the Irish Sea, is not feasible and that the bill currently being considered by parliament would destroy it.

Already, the EU has launched legal proceedings against those who violate what it considers a binding treaty.

Truss seems determined to push on with the bill, and according to some reports, could trigger an “Article 16” emergency provision to unilaterally take action on Northern Ireland within days after taking office next week.

This would increase tensions with the EU’s executive, The European Commission. It could eventually lead to a trade conflict, where the EU could impose tariffs on British products.

The diplomat from Brussels stated that “the Commission will be on top of the matter and would provide a firm response.” “Europeans all agree on the same firm line.”

Truss campaign member stated that she hoped for a change in government to bring about a reset with Europe. However, she said she preferred a negotiated resolution of the Northern Ireland impasse.

The official stated that “this will not be the default option” but that they won’t hesitate to make difficult decisions.

One Brussels veteran ambassador stated that Europeans were ready for a bumpy ride. “It’s going be rock and roll,” said he.

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