Michel Barnier has established another blistering assault on the UK’s post-Brexit position, going farther than normal in outlining the way in his opinion that the British government is looking to have its cake and eat it.
The EU’s chief negotiator accused the UK of failing to participate constructively in discussions on the future connection, in one of the starkest warnings nevertheless about the absence of progress towards a bargain.
Talking at a digital occasion organized by Ireland’s Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA), Barnier said an arrangement had to be struck by the end of October to allow time for ratification.
The post-Brexit transition period expires on December 31, heralding significant modifications when the UK — that officially left the EU past January — renders the Single Market and Customs Union. But advancement over the summer in discussions on future and trade ties continues to be painfully slow.
Barnier accused the British of neglecting to provide guarantees that prospective contest would be about a”rational footing”, as spelled out in the Political Declaration — that the non-binding region of the divorce agreement agreed by both sides and forms the foundation for talks about the future connection.
Also, he maintained that regardless of the UK’s appetite for autonomy from the EU, in training it had been searching for the status quo, but without duties.
“We understand well the UK’s debate: you need a fresh break in the EU, you need complete sovereignty and the freedom to set its own rules and invest its money as it needs, without any limitations in Europe,” Barnier said.
“And the reality is that British negotiators are still seeking continuity in several locations, perhaps not a clean break’ at all,” he added.
“The UK government is looking to maintain the advantages of the EU and the Single Market with no duties,” he went on, singling out transportation, energy trading, criteria for products, and collaboration on judicial and police issues.
Barnier contested British debates it would be from the EU’s interests to grant the UK privileged access to EU markets.
On products, British suggestions on”rules of origin” supposed the UK could develop into an”assembly hub to the EU”, able to”source products from all over the globe and export them with hardly any alteration — into the EU as British products, tariff and quota-free”.
UK tips on-road transportation” would enable British truckers to push on EU streets without needing to comply with the same working conditions as EU motorists”. Regarding aviation, British airlines would be able to”operate within the EU without needing to respect the identical labor and environmental standards”, the main negotiator said.
Failure to achieve agreement on state aid principles has been one of the sticking points at the discussions. The EU did not need to intervene in national affairs, Barnier stated, but needed to understand details of a prospective UK system to make certain that the British wouldn’t use newfound regulatory freedom to”distort competition”.
The Frenchman lambasted the united kingdom position on fisheries, stating that with no arrangement there might be”no new financial venture with the UK”. The EU has said a bargain on the fishing policy has to be a part of a general accord.
Barnier said the UK had shunned the EU’s”willingness to potential solutions”. However, he contended, the British place” would lock Ireland’s fishermen and women from oceans that they fished long until Ireland or the UK joined the European Economic Community at’73, not to mention the fishermen and people of several other EU nations. That’s simply not acceptable,” he added.
The primary negotiator also alleged that the UK was unwilling to reach an agreement on potential dispute settlement, stating Brussels was only asking London to translate its commitments into the legal text: “nothing more, nothing less”.
And he accused the UK of trying to diverge in different areas also, such as food standards, in which he stated the British had failed to offer sufficient details of its upcoming regulation.
“These aren’t technocratic particulars. All these are essentials. At stake are thousands of thousands of European occupations and livelihoods — Irish occupations and livelihoods — our health, wellbeing and safety, our climate and environment, our basic rights,” Barnier reasoned.
Barnier’s remarks reflect growing frustration in EU circles which despite the impending deadlines, discussions have progressed at a snail’s pace.
He was speaking after returning from casual discussions in London and before the resumption of formal talks next week.
The UK continues to seek out a free, “Canada-style” free trade deal with the EU with few duties, though this was ruled out by Brussels that cites the UK’s geographical proximity to the country.
After the previous round of discussions in August, the UK’s chief British negotiator David Frost predicted on the EU to attack the type of free trade deal it had reasoned with other foreign partners and to concur”practical agreements of the alliance” in different regions.
The close of the transition period will bring substantial changes no matter the results of the discussions. Struggling to reach a trade deal will visit the UK and EU commerce on World Trade Organization (WTO) conditions, bringing substantial tariff and non-tariff barriers.