Shearman and Sterling partner, Barnabas Reynolds, argued the UK’s refusal to budge in Brexit trade talks will force the EU to concede to Britain’s demands. While speaking with Brexit Watch on their YouTube channel, Mr Reynolds said since the UK is not part of the EU it makes the country sovereign. This means the EU will be forced to deal with the UK as a separate entity during the trade talks.
Mr Reynolds claimed once the EU realises the UK will not agree to its close alignment rules, the bloc will be forced to consider caving to the UK’s demands.
Brexit Watch host Jonathan Saxty said: “Assuming the June deadline come and go, do you think that will focus minds in Brussels?”
Mr Reynolds replied: “Yes, I don’t think the UK Government is going to budge from its default position.
“It is not a negotiating position, it is a statement of fact.
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“Having left the EU, the UK is sovereign and with that concept, a number of things follow.
“This includes, the UK not following EU rules, it can’t sign up for the European Court of Justice, in fact, the Northern Ireland protocol is inconsistent with that and needs replacing.”
Mr Reynolds then considered whether the EU’s aggressive Brexit trade stance was simply to scare the UK into submission during the negotiations.
He said: “Whether the EU was just trying it on, I don’t know.
“But a whole host of propositions from the EU are just incompatible.
“I don’t see how Boris Johnson’s Government can, and it shouldn’t move from that basic premise of international law.”
Mr Reynolds argued due to the UK being a sovereign nation, the EU will have to compromise in the Brexit trade talks.
He said the EU will have to realise the UK is not shifting on its position, and if the bloc wants a deal, they will have to consider giving into Britain’s demands.
Mr Reynolds continued: “As time passes, the EU will clearly see that the UK is not shifting.
“That will up the pace, to a degree.
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“Will there be that leap over the threshold where the EU suddenly becomes willing to do a normal trade deal with a sovereign neighbour?
“That last bit is a bit unpredictable because you can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.”
Despite the current Brexit trade talks making little progress on an overall agreement, Mr Reynolds claimed he was optimistic a deal would be agreed in time.
He said: “All the omens are good and it is agreed in the political declaration.
“The EU recognises the UK’s sovereignty and the UK’s internal market.”
“So all the omens are good but now it is really up to the EU to see if they will follow through.”