The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier spoke in Brussels following the conclusion of the fourth round of talks between the bloc and UK on a future relationship. Just as expected, the French politician claimed “no significant progress” had been made in the last five days, and insisted the UK “respect” negotiation rules. He said: “My job is to tell the truth. And to tell the truth, this week there have been no real areas of progress.
“We cannot go on like this forever.”
He accused Britain of refusing to budge on key issues and backtracking on a preliminary declaration agreed between the UK and the EU ahead of the Brexit date in January 2020.
Mr Barnier noted: “This declaration is not difficult to read.
“It is available in all languages — even English. The UK continues to backtrack on the commitments made in this declaration.
Michel Barnier ‘inviting cross-Channel tariff war with UK’ – but EU will LOSE
EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier
“Even in those rare areas where we saw some conclusions, we fell short of what we agreed in the declaration.”
However, the French diplomat’s claims are at odds with the fact checking charity, FullFact, which claims the political declaration, contrary to the Withdrawal Agreement, is actually “non-legally-binding”.
The organisation says: “It sets out the intentions of both sides regarding the future relationship, such as trading arrangements.
“It’s effectively a blueprint for future negotiations.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Former Ukip MP Douglas Carswell
Moreover, not only does Mr Barnier appear to be misguided, but according to former Ukip MP Douglas Carswell, the Brexit negotiator’s behaviour is inviting a cross-channel tariff war – one that the EU will ultimately lose.
He told Express.co.uk: “I think the Government’s position is absolutely right. We are not going to allow ourselves to be forced into the EU’s regulatory orbit.
“Now, it is really up to the EU as to how they want to respond to that. If they want to respond to that by imposing tariffs, it’s on them.
“I think the EU’s opening position shows that Barnier has not really, even yet, understood what Brexit means. Brexit means we make our own rules, we make our own laws, we make our own mistakes and we take responsibility for those mistakes.
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The English Channel
“The question is not really ‘what will the EU do?’ but ‘is the EU willing to give us the same terms that it gave to Canada?’
“If they are not, then fine, we will trade with the EU with the same terms as Australia.”
Mr Carswell noted: “But given that last year, we bought £60billion worth more goods from the EU than we sold to the EU, if there is a cross-channel tariff war, I would suggest that we have less to lose than our suppliers.”