EU Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen. Flickr/EU2017EE Estonian Presidency
All may not yet be lost. According to the French news agency, AFP, there is still a chance that Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, will agree a deal on trade when they meet tonight at the Last Ditch Café in Brussels.
And even if they don’t, the door will apparently remain ajar for several days more. Germany’s Angela Merkel, the current chair of the European Council, told the Bundestag yesterday that she could promise nothing and that acceptance by Johnson of the full integrity of the Single Market was an essential pre-requisite to a deal. But – she seemed to imply – hope springs eternal, at least until the clock strikes midnight on December 31.
The position of Emmanuel Macron, as President of France, is en principe the same. How could it not be? If the UK prime minister caves in on fish, state support for industry and who gets to take charge of the governance of whatever is agreed, he will be only too happy to add his name to the relevant treaty.