Frictionless trade impossible if United Kingdom leaves European Union single market, says Barnier

07 July, 2017, 00:28 | Author: Essie Rivera
  • Business leaders demand indefinite delay in Britain's departure from Single Market and Customs Union

He lays out the harm that he says will be done to Britain by her approach and talks of delusions that still prevail amongst "some people in the UK" (I don't think he's been wandering down Godalming High Street so I suspect he means the very top of the United Kingdom government). "One: The free movement of persons, goods, services, and capital are indivisible - indivisible!"

Barnier explained that a "frictionless trade" would only be possible with "the combination of the customs union and the rules of the internal market". He goes on to try to kill off the chatter about setting up "a customs union" (a bespoke arrangement like Turkey has with the EU) emphasising that such a set-up keeps customs controls and other checks in place as is far from the "frictionless" trade talked about by United Kingdom ministers.

"You can not leave the single market and then opt into those sectors you like most, say the automobile industry or financial services".

But in an apparent rejection of Hammond's softer approach, Barnier warned that neither of two models that have been floated - that of Norway, which is in the single market but not the customs union, nor that of Turkey, outside the single market but in the customs union - could be as advantageous for the full EU membership.

No matter what the United Kingdom seeks, the European Union won't allow it to weaken the single market's rules on freedom of labor movement, cherry pick which sectors it can access or escape the region's rules and standards, Barnier said.

His comments, which amount to a stark rejection of the negotiating position set out by Theresa May and Brexit Secretary David Davis, came as British business leaders appealed for a transitional deal to keep the United Kingdom in the single market and customs union beyond the expected date of withdrawal in March 2019.

He added: "These three points were already made clear by the European Council. I am not sure whether [these points] have been fully understood across the Channel".

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Echoing German chancellor Angela Merkel, the European Union negotiator stressed that the "most important" issue for the European Union is not Brexit but "the future of Europe".

Barnier urged business to assess, with lucidity, the negative consequences of the UK's choice on trade and investment. Brexit has a cost, also for business in the EU27.

However, he also warned that a hard Brexit, involving no deal at all, would be disastrous for both sides.

He argued, "In my eyes, there would be no reasonable justification for the "no deal" scenario.there is no reason to further aggravate the consequences of Brexit".

He also suggested that the United Kingdom has "more to lose" than the remaining 27 member states.

"He said a "'no deal" would aggravate the "loser-loser' situation which necessarily results from Brexit. There is no sense in making the consequences of Brexit even worse.

"A fair deal is far better than no deal", he told an European Union panel on Brexit, repeating the phrase twice in English.


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