The trade agreement talks between Britain and the European Union is going to start from next week as EU chief negotiator Michael Barnier warned Boris Johnson that Brussels would not accept a deal “at any price.” Mr Barnier further asserted that the UK must agree to a “level playing field” on rules and regulations; otherwise, any agreement will not be signed. He announced after the remaining 27 member states agreed their negotiating position.
The agreement is going to be tough and may lead to a no-deal Brexit at the end of 2020. Downing street mentioned that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s priority is to secure freedom to diverge from Brussels rules, even if it means leaving on World Trade Organisation terms.
But Mr Banier has dismissed Downing Street’s suggestion that its purpose is to secure the “economic and political independence of the UK”, saying: “The political and economic independence of the UK doesn’t have to be negotiated. It has been done. It is achieved. That is not the purpose of these negotiations.”
He accused Boris Johnson of “putting time pressure” on the bloc in pursuit of a deal. Mr Barnier said in a press conference, “These will be, demanding negotiations that take place in a limited amount of time before the UK leaves the single market. A short time chosen by the British Government, not by us… Everyone needs to assume their responsibilities, in a brief period of time, you can’t do everything – it’s the British Government putting time pressure on these talks.”
Mr Barnier warned, ”We are ready to offer a highly ambitious trade deal to the UK, but the UK can’t expect high-quality access to the single market if it is not prepared to accept guarantees that competition remains open and fair, free and fair.”
Downing Street stated they demand the same kind of respect that the EU has given to other world economies like Canada and Japan while signing trade deals with them. But Mr Barnier said a Canada-style deal was not possible as the UK’s geographical closeness and economic integration with the EU is “unique.”
“The UK will be the EU’s third-largest trade partner, 10 times bigger than Canada,” he said. “At the same time, Canada is some 5,000km away. It is clear that the rules can’t be the same. It is logical. It is simple,” he explained. The chief negotiator of the body revealed that talks would begin with the Government’s Task Force Europe, led by David Frost, from next week.