Sir Keir Starmer is set to meet Emmanuel Macron in Paris for talks this morning after his hopes of achieving a “closer trading relationship” with the EU were dealt a blow.
The Labour leader is concluding his world tour, which has included a visit to Europol in The Hague, Netherlands, and to a political summit in Montreal, Canada, with a behind-closed-doors meeting with the French President at which post-Brexit relations are expected to feature prominently.
The face-to-face meeting comes after a new report by the UK in a Changing Europe (UKICE) think tank published today said it would be “challenging” for Labour to persuade Brussels to agree to a major rewrite of the Brexit trade deal.
Sir Keir said he would seek to rewrite the existing Brexit deal when it is up for review in 2025. But the report suggested the EU could be reluctant to agree to anything more than a “short, technical review” of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.
The report said: “The review has been identified by some, most notably the Labour Party, as an opportunity to expand the terms of the TCA, as a way of reducing barriers to trade. Yet this report finds that using the review for such ends will be challenging, for both political and practical reasons.”
Anand Menon, director of UKICE, said Sir Keir “runs the risk of demanding more than the European Union is willing to give”.
He said the UK is “not a priority for the EU, which remains relatively happy” with the Brexit deal. As such a Labour government would have to “provide the EU with an incentive to restart negotiations over Brexit”.
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