United Kingdom won't retreat from global community: Johnson

Clay Curtis
August 25, 2019

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to tell European Union leaders he will withhold 30 billion pounds ($37 billion) from the Brexit divorce bill unless they agree to changes to the deal, the Mail on Sunday reported.

His meeting with Mr Trump will be one of the highlights to watch for at the summit. The pair have spoken several times by phone since Johnson became prime minister on July 24.

In his remarks, he insisted that the United Kingdom would be an "energetic partner" on the world stage after Brexit.

Nevertheless, Johnson has used the trip to indirectly criticise Trump, saying a global trade war needed to de-escalate, and that those responsible for rising tariffs could be held responsible for damaging the world economy.

They are both divisive figures in their respective countries and enjoy provoking their opponents.

His comments come after French President Emmanuel Macron suggested a post-Brexit trade deal with the USA could see Britain as a "junior partner" in a position of "historic vassalisation".

Johnson rose to power by presenting himself as the saviour of Brexit.

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Pressed on Tusk's famous "special place in hell" jibe that many observers believe was aimed at Johnson, the premier said he did not want to discuss the afterlife with his Polish colleague.

The bloc and its leaders have repeatedly refused to reopen a withdrawal agreement, which includes a protocol on an Irish border insurance policy that then Prime Minister Theresa May agreed to in November.

Such a move could trigger a general election.

Open Europe's Nadibaidze said striking a close relationship with the United States may require Britain to make "compromises at home" and "diverge a bit more from Europe" on major worldwide issues.

"If Johnson pulls off a deal - which now nearly nobody is expecting, it isn't even our base case - that will really be a strong bull case for sterling", said Daniel Trum, a strategist at UBS Global Wealth Management.

"A lot will depend on the terms" of Brexit, she said.

Johnson "faces a dilemma", said Charles Grant, director of the Centre for European Reform think-tank.

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